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Sound System Gonna Bring Me Back Up 

Wednesday, Apr 8 2009
The Portuguese empire may be gone, but the cultural flow between Portugal and its former colonies never stopped. Witness the phenomenon of kuduro, a hybrid of lo-fi electronics, West African percussion, calypso rhythms, and hip-hop rhyming born in Angola and now percolating worldwide via Lisbon's Buraka Som Sistema. This Iberian trio doesn't play "world music" of the sort your meditating neighbor soaks up between muesli spoonfuls: Buraka Som Sistema's joints are urban, up-tempo, and unholy in their infernal danceability. It's a sound that summons fans of dancehall, dubstep, grime, ghettotech, electro, funk carioca, and other street-corner party blasters. As Buraka Som Sistema told one interviewer, this is music designed to make people "jump around like crazy Man-Monkeys from Saturn." On its hot new album, Black Diamond, songs like "Sound of Kuduro" (with Sri Lanka's M.I.A. and Angola's DJ Znobia), "Aqui Para Voces" (with Brazil's Deize Tigrona), and the title track (with Britain's Virus Syndicate) steam through their paces so energetically that it sounds less like they're trying to run across the globe than stomp right through it.
Tue., April 21, 8 p.m., 2009

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John Graham


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