Buraka Som Sistema
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., Nov. 13, 2009
Buraka Som SistemaWaterloo Park, Nov. 8
"Ladies and gentleman, now we're gonna take you to fucking Africa," shouted Andro Carvalho, the Cuban-born, Angola-raised MC of Buraka Som Sistema. The motherland that the Portugal-based ghetto-technicians transport listeners to is the Angolan underground, miles removed from the latest Putumayo compilation for sale at Starbucks. The group – DJ, drummer, percussionist, and three MCs – unleashed a fury of sinister skull-rattling beats and swirling sirens known as kuduro, a Lisbon-by-way-of-Luanda dance craze every bit as brash as Brazil's baile funk. If you knew the genre before witnessing Buraka Som Sistema, you're either an ethnomusicologist or a liar. Although taking the stage more than 30 minutes late for an abbreviated set, BSS thumped live on the global sound clash of 2008's Black Diamond. The M.I.A.-assisted "Sound of Kuduro" primed the uninitiated, while the pounding rhythms of "Kalemba (Wegue Wegue)" required no translation. Neither did the posterior acrobatics of the lone female MC, decked in glowing neon lipstick and waist-high silver hot pants (did we mention "kuduro" translates to "hard ass"). For an encore, the band blasted the crowd with water cannons, a wholly superfluous act given the wet weather.