tonight we proudly broadcast two of dj zhao’s recent mixes covering african styles and focussing on kudoro.
“The super awesome and diverse Akwaaba asked me to do a mix to represent the first 2 years of their existence, and it was a challenge. The releases cover a wide range of both classic and modern sounds — how was i going to move from Malian roots to Senegalise Folk to Kwaito, to Hiplife, to African Salsa, Afro-pop, Jazz, Funk, House and Kuduro? This is what i came up with. enjoy!”
I don’t know what Kuduro means in the Kimbundu language of northern Angola, but its colorful translation in Portuguese is in some ways fitting of the music in both form and theme. Still, even though a lot of the music is hard, and a lot of the songs about fucking, the phrase is very much limited in describing the rich layers of word and sound, and becomes reductionist if taken only at face value. Kuduro can also be playful, humorous, soulful, emotional, ominous, scary, joyful, celebratory, and uplifting. It is also sonically adventurous in radical ways, fearless in its pushing and often destruction of dance music’s aesthetic boundaries, in ways often more bold and creative than sound-design obsessed electronic music from North America or Europe: from sweet accordions to reckless synths, from 8-bit game console palettes to near industrial noise, from samples distorted way beyond recognition to some of the deepest basslines in the world.
And the vocals are just as wildly diverse: from “normal” singing to what sounds like children rapping to animalistic growling, grunting, yelling.