Sunday, October 5, 2008

All The Kids Are Doing It: Kuduro!

A few months back, SuperForester Nick played me a youtube video the likes of which I'd never seen before.

It's a music video by the group Buraka Som Sistema featuring the uncomparable M.I.A. and some amazing dancing, world-hood vibes, and cross-continental collaborative music action.

Here it is:

I saw it a few times and didn't think much of it. But there's something about this song and clip that forced me to revisit it, and I'm so glad I did! I had no idea how deep the kuduro rabbit hole went.

It seems that kuduro is the biggest thing since reggaeton. And it's all based on some serious cross-pollination between Portugal and Angola, while the rest of the lucky world gets to watch and dance along.

From wikipedia:

"Kuduro (or Kuduru) is a type of music born in Angola and immediately exported to Lisbon suburbs in Portugal, hence its two varieties Luandense and Lisboeta. It is characterized as uptempo, energetic, and danceable. French DJ/Producer Fredric Galliano, who specializes in African music, describes Kuduro as "house music with programming inspired by traditional carnival music from the Caribbean and Angola". He considers the music a social movement created by poor people, akin to hip-hop, and describes the lyrical content as societal and political critique."

So it's a dance, a music-style, and a platform for social awareness/collaboration.


If one wishes, a youtube search for "kuduro" turns up some serious dancing.

This guy is incredible:

There are three things that really excite me about kuduro. Firstly, that it is a collaboration between two countries, with each country producing a specific flavor of dance. And the fact that Angola is a former colony of Portugal, and that the former colony and colonizer are working hand in hand to make new art forms is very exciting. (I wonder what brave new art will come out of the U.S./Iraq team up? Already we've got Heavy Metal In Baghdad.)

Secondly, any music/dance/art form that gives people hope and an outlet for expression is amazing, and kuduro does just that. Thinking of young Angolans filming themselves and their friends trying out new forms of kuduro, uploading the dances to youtube, and having other kuduro-phyles in Lisbon trying them out immediately is an inspiring and wonderful use of technology.

Thirdly, kuduro is just so authentic! Look at these dancers go! You don't need anything to dance kuduro. Not even clothes. Just that insistent beat and the will to move. In pop culture, IMHO, nothing is cooler than South Africa. Because it's been ignored for so long, it's like a vacant lot that has sprouted wild and mysterious life, overlooked for years by the West, just waiting for serious exploration.

Not only that, but the vibe seems to be intensely positive. I don't speak Portuguese, but in watching these videos, one gets the feeling that this art is more about building up that tearing down. (I could be soooo wrong. Anyone speak Portuguese?)

Kuduro is just the tip of the iceberg. South Africa is so hot right now, collaboration is so hot right now, and collaboration via the internet in creating new art is the diamond's edge. Sharp, sharp, sharp!

Get some friends together, dance some kuduro. Fall in love. Be happy.

Love it!

Love to All,

Jackson and Team SuperForest

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