Live Review

Buraka Som Sistema, London Scala

You would basically have to be dead not to be joining in.

We’re all rather cosy for this sold out marathon of a show. Not the sort of music for a hangover (unless you’re looking to have your ears blown apart, that is), Buraka bring the sounds of West Africa’s Kuduro music via Portugal – a fat splicing of dub with carnival that has them hailed as innovators for the genre. The live drumming adds that extra-thrilling dimension to the primarily synthetic beats, where the rattles of the well worn drum pads of DJ Riot slip neatly between the party sounds of DJ Li’l John. Completing the set, their charismatic frontmen duel like drum and bass MC’s, as tricky but commendable record switches take place behind.

Fusing all arsenals of Klaxons, samples and Portuguese rap into it, there is slight alignment with Bonde Do Role, sifting in one ‘Gasolina’ to their mix where it seems the pond between Angola and Brazil is a minimal one. From what I know of South American ladies and their ‘educational’ hips, them that can be classed as in the front three rows are getting back to school courtesy of Buraka’s female stage frequenter and sometime singer who bares an impressive amount of skin.

It is she who takes up the absent MIA lines for ‘Sound of Kuduro’, their very heavy shit – what it lacks in lyrical somersaults it more than makes up for it in boisterous drive – shown by the repeat inclusion in the encore. Not a single sole is sticking to the floor when this one kicks off, yet this makes minimal change to the already jubilant crowd in the Scala. The entrance beats of ‘Yah!’ have arms raised and voices in unison for the chorus, where the synth warps encourage raucous hip shifting. You would basically have to be dead not to be joining in.

Similarly their encore invites stage bundling of cavorting Londoners ready to welcome the weekend in a tad early. Considering they crept into the set like an expanding forest trail, where gradually a lone bass note grew layered, there becomes no end to the party loudhailer cuts of ‘No Good For Me’, DJ Banger’s ‘Satisfaction’, and ‘Killing In The Name Of’ – which axes into the end of the first ‘…Kuduro’.

So exuberant are the rhythms they’re dishing out that crowd refreshment is necessary, and this is done by way a water bazooka. Showing off their Black Diamond, judging from tonight’s performance it won’t be long before Buraka Som Sistema has the whole world in their spin.

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