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definition - Kuduro

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Stylistic origins soca, semba, zouk, tribal house, techno, bouyon
Cultural origins Early 1980s, Angola
Typical instruments PC, drum machine, vocal
Mainstream popularity Moderate mid-late 2000s

Kuduro (or kuduru) is a type of music and dance originally born in Angola in the 1980s. It is characterized as uptempo, energetic, and danceable. Kuduro began in Luanda, Angola in the late 80s. Initially, producers sampled traditional carnival music like soca and zouk from the Caribbean and also semba from Angola and laid this around a fast 4/4 beat.



The roots of kuduro can be traced to the late 1980s when producers in Luanda, Angola started mixing African percussion samples with simple soca rhythms to create a style of music then known as "batida". European and American electronic music had begun appearing in the market, which attracted Angolan musicians and inspired them to incorporate their own musical styles. Young producers began adding heavy African percussion to both European and American beats, which resulted in what was then called Batida. In the early 90's, Angolan clubs started playing it and the youngsters started to create new dance moves to follow what the DJs were dropping.

The name itself is a word with a specific meaning to location in the Kimbundu language, which is native to the northern portion of Angola. Kuduro dancing combines soca, semba, and zouk. In Europe western house and techno porducer mixed it with house and techno.[1] As Vivian Host points out in her article, despite the common assumption that "world music" from non-Western countries holds no commonalities with Western modern music, Angolan kuduro does contain "elements in common with punk, deep tribal house, and even Daft Punk."[2] It is thus the case that cultural boundaries and limitations within the musical spectrum are constantly shifting and being redefined. And though Angolan kuduro reflects an understanding and, further, an interpretation of Western musical forms, the world music category that it fits under tends to reject the idea of Western musical imperialism.[2] The larger idea here is that advancements in technology and communications and the thrust of music through an electronic medium have made transcending cultural and sonic musical structures possible. According to Blentwell Podcasts, kuduro is a "mixture of house, hip-hop, and ragga elements,"[3] which illustrates how this is at once an Angolan-local and global music. Indeed, this "musical cross-pollination",[2] as Vivian Host calls it, represents a local appropriation of global musical forms, such that the blending of different musics creates the music of a "new world."


Kuduro is very popular across the former Portuguese overseas provinces in Africa, as well as in the suburbs of Lisbon, Portugal (namely Amadora and Queluz), due to the large number of Angolan immigrants. It is a common kind of music played in Portugal's Latin Dance floors.

In the Lisbon variety (or progressive kuduro), which mixes African Music with House and Techno music, Buraka Som Sistema a Portuguese/Angolan electronic dance music project based in Portugal, was responsible for the internationalization of kuduro apart from the Portuguese-speaking world, presenting the genre across Europe and appeared in several international music magazines, after their appearance with their hit "Yah!" ("Yeah!"). Buraka Som Sistema takes its name from Buraca, a Lisbon suburb in the municipality of Amadora.[4] Since the explosion of the Buraka Som Sistema, kuduro dance performance videos find an increasing audience on internet video platforms like YouTube. The videos range in quality from MTV standard to barely recognizable mobile-phone footage. As with most music styles, various weblogs and sharehosting websites offer kuduro for download in mp3 format.


In 2010, Portuguese-French Lucenzo best known for his recent Portuguese/English hit "Vem dançar kuduro" (Let's Dance Kuduro), with a Latin / Kizomba flavor which became a hit in Europe.

Lucenzo collaborated with Don Omar on "Danza Kuduro", a bilingual Spanish and Portuguese hit song from the album Meet the Orphans. A remake of the song is also featured in the 2011 movie Fast Five. As of February 2012, the "Danza Kuduro" music video on YouTube has received over 300 million views.[5]

M.I.A. has supported kuduro music, working on the song "Sound of Kuduro" with Buraka Som Sistema in Angola. "It initially came from kids not having anything to make music on other than cellphones, using samples they'd get from their PCs and mobiles' sound buttons," M.I.A. said of kuduro. "It's a rave-y, beat oriented sound. Now that it's growing, they've got proper PCs to make music on."[6]


  1. ^ "The Afrofunk Music Forum: Kuduro: Techno from Angola to the World". Afrofunkforum.blogspot.com. http://afrofunkforum.blogspot.com/2007/02/kuduro-techno-from-angola-to-world.html. Retrieved 2011-09-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Host, Vivian (and contributors). "The New World Music." XLR8R 109 (Aug 2007): 64–73.
  3. ^ Blentwell.com. Kiasma. Masolicism. 17 Apr. 2008 <http://www.blentwell.com/tags.php/kuduro>.
  4. ^ Miguel Judas. VISÃO nº 752 3 Ago. 2007
  5. ^ A remake of the song is also featured in the 2011 movie Fast Five as an ending song and is on the film's soundtrack album
  6. ^ "M.I.A. Picks Best Global Sound". Rolling Stone. May 2008. 

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