Buraka Som Sistema, the electronic hip hop from the soul

This Portuguese band is making waves in the music industry. (Courtesy of Buraka Som Sistema Facebook page) It is one of the most irreverent bands…

This Portuguese band is making waves in the music industry. (Courtesy of Buraka Som Sistema Facebook page)

It is one of the most irreverent bands on Earth. Yet, when you see and listen to Buraka Som Sistema, you have a strange feeling that you know them. As soon as the first chords are struck, you want to dance to the music and enjoy the sensual movements of Blaya and the hip hop beat.

Buraka is a band from Portugal, playing a musical blend which includes kuduro —a beat from Angola based mainly on percussion— and zouk —a very danceable and popular beat from the Caribbean French islands.

African beat is the closest you can get to the “natural” beat of our hearts, the mother of all beats, according to Carlos Santana.

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“These influences… Has to do with immigrants, because Portugal colonized part of Africa and now we see lots of immigrants from those countries here, and they bring their culture, their music,” said Conductor, one of the leaders of the band, during a phone conversation with Voxxi. “Each of us have preferences when it comes to music, but when we play, everything comes into one trend, almost naturally.”

It is one of the most irreverent bands on Earth.

Singer Blaya is the main singer and dancer of the band. (Courtesy of Buraka Som Sistema Facebook page)

Buraka Som Sistema means Buraka Sound System —Buraka is a community close to Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. All of its members have previous musical experience and a diverse background, all of which is part of the magic blend of Buraka.

“We have an style and people already recognize it,” said Conductor, whose real name is Andro Carvalho, an Angolan musician of Cuban origin. He is also the second singer of the band, the first one being Blaya, of Brazilian origin. “She is the poster of the band!”

The five-member band started when Branko, Pité and Kalaf got together to start a kuduro project. Conductor joined them and Buraka was born. Blaya joined them right after that to become the most visible body of the band.

“Our lyrics? We sing in Portuguese and English… We talk about social issues, simple things of life,” explained Conductor. “There are a lot of stereotypes about African music, we want people to understand it better.”

Conductor still has family in Cuba. “I visit Cuba… They are not familiar with electronic music, but they have incredible musical sources.” He is very interested about Latin American music.

“I would like Buraka to make a splash in Latin America,” Conductor said with enthusiasm. “I am mostly interested on Mexico and Colombia.”

It is one of the most irreverent bands on Earth.

Blaya performs with her band, putting everything into her singing and dancing. (Courtesy of Buraka Som Sistema Facebook page)

Curiously, he added that bachata is the Latin musical style that could fit Buraka naturally. However, he also clarified that there are several several Latin musical beats he likes and would like to experience with.

Conductor also expressed confidence his band will grow and make roots in Latin America.

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Today, Buraka has another opportunity to bring its music to USA after an impressive presentation at Coachella Music Festival in 2009. On March 16, the Portuguese band will bring its unusual music to South by Southwest Festival,

“USA has such a diverse and big audience! Its really fun to be there!” said an emotional and optimistic Conductor. “We work very hard on our shows and music! I foresee our audience growing… We have the energy we pass it on to the people!”