Buraka Som Sistema Celebrate 10 Iconic Years At Webster Hall
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. However, Buraka Som Sistema aren’t just a good band, they are one of dance music’s all time great innovators. Over the last decade the five members of the Lisbon-based collective have championed the sounds and dialects of global dance music in a revolutionary way. Buraka’s music is drenched in Afrocentric elements derived from Angolan kuduro and spliced with the cutting edge attributes of bass-heavy techno. With a flair and brashness all their own, Buraka pioneered the genre of zouk bass, shedding light on a demographic of artists that were never before given such a loud voice.
Buraka’s influence can be felt on a wide scale level, influencing Diplo’s Major Lazer live performance and inspiring artists like M.I.A., Alo Wala and Schlachthofbronx. On April 9th the five original members of Buraka Som Sistema came together to say goodbye to their New York fans inside Webster Hall’s grand ballroom. With DJ Riot shredding on the drums and Enchufada label head honcho Branko mixing a masterpiece on the decks, fellow label head Kalaf joined crowd controllers Conductor and Blaya on stage.
A Buraka show is a truly unique and organic experience. It’s not like a DJ set where the crowd is there to watch the performance and be entertained. Instead, the the crowd is encouraged to work in conjunction with the artists on stage to create a one of a kind atmosphere. As the band took the stage, Webster Hall began to erupt with exclamations spanning a dozen languages. By incorporating such a wide array of elements from numerous cultures, Buraka always attract a beautiful and international crowd of supporters.
Kicking things off with the fire-starting banger “Vuvuzela,” Buraka embarked in an adrenaline fueled journey spanning their greatest hits from the last ten years. Fans were greeted by some of Buraka’s biggest tunes like the infectious “(We Stay Up) All Night,” the heart pounding “Kalemba” and the sultry “Candonga.”
Perhaps one of the biggest songs of the night was Buraka’s collaboration with M.I.A “Sound Of Kuduro,” which perfectly embodies the group’s exciting and unique style. However the night’s finale totally stole the show. “Hangover” was the first Burka Som Sistema track that I had ever heard, and seeing it performed live for one last time is a memory I will never let go of. To close out the show Buraka brought up an army of bootylicious babes from the crowd for one last, epic dance party.
Buraka’s final show at New York City was a massive success. It was a slightly bittersweet moment to raise my hands in the air for the band’s group photo commemorating the moment. After ten years of epic performances and creating genre bending music, Buraka went out in the same way they came in, with a bang.
The group has two final shows coming up in their native Portugal — two shows that I’m sure will be absolutely iconic as the world says farewell to a seminal group of artists.