Afro-house music in Angola is fire and deserves a glance through the internet’s magnifying glass. South African house music generally gets press for being the world’s largest house music market per capita. House and chillout music had a great heyday in that country in the ’90s when local DJs blended club cuts with traditional sounds, spinning off kwaito music. While kwaito music specifically refers to South Africa’s “township sound,” Afro-house refers more generally to music from the southern African region that blends deeper-leaning house beats with African percussive touches.
It may be less publicized, but Angola’s house scene is extremely popular within the country. Most of the videos by the DJs, singers, and groups below have hundreds of thousands of views. DJ Malvado has over 100,000 likes on Facebook. And it isn’t just because the genre is homegrown — Angola’s Afro-house jams have a particularly ambrosial magnetism. Artists are blending local sub-genres of semba, kuduro, house, kizomba, gueto zouk, house and EDM into their own mishmash of dreamy, richly pulsating dance beats. These eight artists are just a peek into one of dance music’s most luscious scenes:
Djeff is Angolan Afro-house’s de facto ambassador. His luxuriant beats feel at home whether you are dancing in Luanda’s streets or on a remote beach. The video for “Celebration” finds him in living the travel-section life in Hong Kong:
DJ Malvado is one of the country’s biggest DJs. “Zenze,” featuring Eddy Tussa, features a slow build that’s a key feature in Angolan Afro-House. When the beat drops at 1:25, I can’t help but close my eyes and imagine a holding fruity drink in one hand while I swivel my hips. I can even picture myself dancing with someone wearing a fedora, which is an extremely rare occurence.
Yuri Da Cunha
“Atchu Tchutcha” featuring DJ Kadu & DJ Malvado made last year’s Afropop burners list, because it’s just that catchy. It’s not surprising that DJ Malvado is on the beat, but singer Yuri Da Cunha adds his magic to the track with his catcalling and cavorting. I’m not proud to post a video with a guy pouring champagne down the crack of his dancer’s Daisy Dukes, but I understand how the song’s urgency makes you want to pop bottles.
“Mulungue feat. Os Bamfumos (2nd Round)” is a second edit made to the song by Renato Xtrova. The producer has added “more African rhythm for 2014.” The pounding bass and the perfectly balanced engineering of the vocals and drums makes me wish DJs went back to the drawing board more often.
Kuduro group BWG released the house-influenced video for “Yadjaiva” last year. Angolan dance music videos often features some of the fantastic kuduro dance groups in the country and the video for “Yadjaiva” shows exactly how nuts you can get with your moves to these songs. The young girls that are featured are extra precious. Also, move over Pharrell, BWG have been doing the shorts-as-formal-wear thing for a minute.
Speaking of kuduro fashion, Power Boyz have the illest style. Check out their matching Dodgers jackets, drop-crotch pants, slick haircuts, and sick dance moves in the video for “Nakupenda featuring KP2.” A track from early 2013, it’s a romantic semba ballad set to a poppy beat. It’s a borderline add to this list, but shows how fluidly artists shift between these genres. Power Boyz have been kinda quiet lately, but their faster kuduro track “Está Tudo Bem Quente” is worth checking out as well.
Like Yuri da Cunha, duo TL Dreamz sings and doesn’t produce,
Angolan Afro-house. But in the songs that he’s has collaborated with Djeff on, “Dja Ká Da” and “Undi da Ki Panha,” he adds an extra sultriness. [Correction: Commenter Phiona Okumu points out that TL Dreamz is from Cape Verde]
Here’s another kuduro-influenced banger. The video for “Lima do Swegg featuring DJ Nelasta” might be the perfect Angolan Afro-house video: there are killer dance moves, jaw-dropping style, cute children, and the DJs truly look like they’re out in the streets promoting the culture, not just themselves.