Buraka Som Sistema Announce Indefinite Hiatus

Portuguese global bass pioneers Buraka Som Sistema will be going on an indefinite break after a final tour in 2016.

Portuguese global bass pioneers Buraka Som Sistema have shared that they'll be taking an indefinite break after a final tour in 2016 (dates will be announced later this year). The Lisbon-based crew introduced many to the repurposed sounds of Angolan kuduro, kizomba, zouk bass, tuki and several other genres from across the world through their high-octane electronic productions. Buraka will be starting their hiatus 10 years after their first EP From Buraka To The World was released, from which followed a run of 800 shows, 3 studio albums (Black Diamond, Komba, Buraka) and huge singles like "Sound of Kuduro ft. M.I.A.," "Kalemba" and "Hangover (BaBaBa)," among many others.

"Thanks to everyone who was at Piknic Électronic celebrating our last show of 2015. Another awesome year in which we were eternally grateful to share our music with all of you," the group wrote on their Facebook page. "We wanna use this opportunity to announce that we’re already preparing a very special tour for the beginning of 2016, where we’ll not only celebrate our 10th anniversary but also close the cycle of existence of Buraka Som Sistema. It’s been 10 years of intense activity... where we created a special bond with everyone who followed us. However, we’ve reached a moment in which we need to stop, take a breath and have time for other projects. Nothing is lost, everything changes, which is why instead of calling it quits we’d like to look at this as a hiatus. Above all we’re still as in love with this music as we were 10 years ago, so we want to keep showing you everything that’s going on in the universe of everyone involved in this project."

Revisit our Okayafrica TV episode with Buraka Som Sistema and their "Sound of Kuduro" video below.

Update 2/4/16: Buraka Som Sistema have announced their final North American tour dates for LA, SF and NYC. Find tickets here.

Buraka Som Sistema Final North American Tour

Los Angeles || April 7th || The Roxy

San Francisco || April 8th || 1015 Folsom

New York || April 9th || Webster Hall


6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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