- New-school kuduro on Burka Som Sistema's label.
- Over the last five years, the Afro-diasporic style of kuduro has been popularized in Europe by labels like Príncipe and overlooked records from artists like DJ NK. But it's not the only time the sound has come around. Back in 2008, Lisbon group Buraka Som Sistema broke this Angolan street music to a mainstream global audience. Their debut LP, Black Diamond, went gold in Portugal. Its first single, "The Sound Of Kuduro" featuring M.I.A., was a blogosphere hit, currently holding 11 million views on YouTube. More than a decade later, the track still stands out for its unruly mix of influences: Angolan rhythms, European club functionality, rapping in English and Portuguese.
Though Buraka Som Sistema disbanded in 2016, this culture clash approach to club music lives on through the group's label, Enchufada, run by former member Branko and the Lisbon artist Rastronaut. Today, Enchufada puts out some of the most notable voices in global club music, including Mexico's Siete Catorce, Peru's Dengue Dengue Dengue and now a Portuguese newcomer named Pedro.
Buraka Som Sistema are one of Pedro's biggest influences. "They were the first ones from Lisbon to make it big worldwide," he once said. "If it wasn't for them, a lot of kids like me wouldn't be doing this." As with his mentors, Pedro's drum-heavy sound is the result of a multicultural mindset. Da Linha, the title of his debut album, means "of the line," a reference to the Sintra train route that connects Lisbon to his hometown, Damaia. A large part of the neighborhood is made up of people from former Portuguese colonies, such as Angola, Cape Verde and Brazil. Their music, especially kuduro and kizomba, is a major influence on Pedro's work.
If Da Linha's rhythms start in Damaia, they extend all over the world. The music speaks to the hips and is full of bright melodies, swinging grooves and wild-but-tight percussion. More than half the tracks are collaborations with international artists, adding subtle variations in rhythm and personality. "Stuck On You," featuring Ghanaian MC Bryte, winds like Afro-house. "Toques," featuring Brazilian duo DKVPZ, smacks like baile funk. "Pusha," with Dominican producer Kelman Duran, slow-burns like reggaeton. It shows how well these Afro-diasporic grooves blend with one another, and more importantly, how infectious each one is.
Every track on Da Linha is a DJ tool aimed at pure body response. One of the first singles, "Too Much" featuring Nigerian MC Maguguis, is all fat drops and thunderous vocals, bringing a brash kind of energy to get the dance floor hollering. Even the moodier tunes flutter with percussion. This innate groove unites Da Linha throughout its many stylistic mashups. It calls to mind a line off Buraka Som Sistema's Black Diamond: "Most of us were not born in Africa, but Africa was born in us."
03. Pedro & Magugu - Too Much
04. Pusha feat. Kelman Duran
05. Terra Treme feat. Pedro Mafama
06. Pedro & Branko - Takré
07. Stuck On You feat. Bryte
08. Toques feat. DKVPZ
10. Para Ti feat. Xcelencia