Skip to content


April 11, 2009

Last night I went to see Buraka Som Sistema at a kind of trendy club here. The lineup included DJ Kentaro and some other people, and was thrown by the party producers Gan-Ban Night. It was at Warehouse 702 which is a new and all right space… sound system is pretty good but it’s a little too hip, and more about a scene than about the music itself. Still, it was an acceptable place for the show.


Anyway, don’t fuck with Buraka Som Sistema. I mean, fuck with them. They are very good. They surpassed my expectations (part of me thought for some reason that they were too hyped up, so I was excited to see them, but I was a bit skeptical). Do not underestimate them.

I like their album “Black Diamond” (I like it more today than I did yesterday), but I thought their live show was way more impressive than their album sound. The DJs spun an incredible, seamless kuduro/house/electro/drum and bass/etc. set and the 2 MCs provided an incredible amount of fun energy.

Buraka came on at 1:30 AM after a 90-minute set by DJ Kentaro, which featured some interesting music (a wide range) but which had no connecting narrative… it was all over the place. At times he had sections where he’d have us all dancing for 10 minute spurts… then he’d put on something off the beat, or start scratching (showing his skillz?)… in any case, it was interesting but definitely not club music. More like a scratch hip hop performance. Not ideal for warming the crowd up for Buraka, but it turned out we didn’t need to be.

Buraka came on and the crowd was going wild, unsurprisingly. They started hard immediately. The MCs did some rapping but mostly were there to dance and keep us entertained. They’d shout, “Make some noise!” and literally you’d barely hear a peep. It wasn’t though that people didn’t want to make noise – I think the Japanese people didn’t realize that the phrase means, “Be loud.” But when they got it, people went nuts. And people danced a lot. “Live” kuduro – or kuduro spun live (and well) makes you dance harder than I could have imagined. The people who were really into it (including me) were going crazy.

At one point that Alexis would have lost it for, they put on “Rhythm is a Dancer” by Snap! (and I can’t emphasize how smooth the DJs mixing was for the entire set), then let it break to the brink, and then gave us all the booming kuduro re-edit!

Here are a few clips I took with my cell phone (really low sound and video quality… I hope they help you visualize what it was like, and make you want to go see them when they go to NY).

By the way, DJ Kentaro had a couple of golden moments in which he spun some classic Japanese enka tunes – and that, combined with the Japanese pride he showed in wearing a cap with what looked like a Yen sign (¥), made me wonder why more Japanese DJs don’t dig the crates for classic enka and other old school Japanese music (I don’t mean like really old school like with flutes… I mean especially 50s-70s, give or take a decade. There is so much good music that these guys must know about. Why not loot it for samples instead of trailing behind Americans et al with regard to funk and soul…?)

Anyway, here is a good Buraka video:

And an OK interview with them from 2007


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: