Kuduro vs Baile Funk – An interview of Frédéric Galliano (14.2.2007)

Last spring when I was in Rio I met there also a french producer called who is one of the world’s leading kuduro connoisseurs. He was in Rio on a project attempting to put together kuduro beats with baile funk MCs. We met at his rental appartment where he had set up his mobile recording studio. Right after me MC Xana was coming over to sing on top of one of Galliano’s kuduro rhythyms.

At this point some of you might ask what is kuduro. Well, to put it short kuduro is hyped up ghetto techno and house out of Angola; a mixture of electronic beats with traditional angolan carnaval music. By the name of kuduro goes also the crazy, freaky dancing style that combines with the music. Something of the music and the dance might tell the direct translation of the word kuduro that is ”tight ass”.

That’s about all I knew about it by that time, so that’s why I wanted Frédéric himself to explain more about the origins of kuduro:

”Kuduro was created by Tony Amado 1996. He used to listen house music. During that time songs like Reel 2 Real: I Like To Move It were international hits and he thought that it’s good but it lacks angolan flavour. So he wanted to do and angolan version of these. So kept the straight kick drum and all around the kick he produced traditional carnaval rhythms. It was an instant success. He called the style kuduro because he had created a dance style inspired by a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie, in which he dances all stiff and with a tight ass. (Amado thought the Van Damme dance was really funny; white man's dance...)”

On this clip Tony Amado explains it himself (in portuguese) and you can see the Van Damme dance.
The creation of Kuduro by Tony Amado

”The dance is special; broken, stupid, funny; they fall on the floor, bounce to walls. It’s acrobatic and more like clownery. Everything is possible in kuduro dance.” As it def is better seen then described I searched some kuduro madness on video for you to check out:

After Tony Amado all the DJs in Luanda copied the style and 10 years after it’s really popular in Angola and spreading around the world. But still kuduro doens’t get really much airplay in the radio in Angola, because the lyrics are so harsh; some sexual slackness some social and political. But it gets played in the popular mini taxis of Luanda, so everybody hears the new songs anyway.”

”When I heard it for the first time two years ago Kuduro hit me right away: For me kuduro is the first and only original electronic music from Africa. It’s fast as techno, but groovy as zouk. The mixture is incredible and completely african. It’s contemporary like european electronic music scene, but with 100% african style and attitude.” Since then he’s been to Angola to learn and record kuduro three times. And went again in March 2007.

”The composition of kuduro is really strict. It comes from the traditional carnaval music of Angola and all the snares and hi-hat hits have to be on a certain place.”

Frédéric learned to produce kuduro with DJ Kito da Machina from Luanda. ”After two weeks of everyday practice with him to learn the rhythm and the composition he said that now you’re qualified to do it alone. But I still send my batidas to him to Luanda to be approved, because the DJs in Luanda are the ones who created the whole music. And you know if someone does kuduro without the strict composition, they say it’s a ”kuduro de branco” (=white man’s kuduro). Some people in Portugal do kuduro, but with europan vision, and that’s stupid, because angolan kuduro is stronger, more original. They miss the real nature of kuduro and that’s very unfortunate.”

It was also with Kito da Machina that he produced the exellent album Frédéric Galliano presents Kuduro Sound System, where many of the hottest kuduro MCs like Tony Amado, Dog Murras, Pai Diesel, Zoca Zoca, Pinta Tirrù and Gata Agressiva lay their vocals on top of their booming kuduro batidas. In the future he’s producing a dub version album of Kuduro Sound System, and he’s also touring live with different kuduro MCs and dancers: Paris, Mexico, USA, Portugal, Roskilde Festival... the list goes on.

8.11, next thursday, he’s gonna be performing with his Kuduro Sound System at Cargo in London, UK. Also DJ Marlboro is there. And so am I, so come and holla if you’re around.

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