Buraka Som Sistema's rise as the international agents of the Angolan dance music style known as kuduro might be seen as very sudden by most. Truthfully, their rocket ride to success was a long time coming. Three of the group's members -- LilJohn (b. João Barbosa), Riot (b. Rui Pité), and Kalaf (b. Kalaf Ângelo) -- have been tagging along since 2002, first as part of jungle/drum'n'bass collective Cooltrain Crew, with Kalaf acting as MC and the other two as DJs and producers. Two years later, they formed the nu-jazz band One Week Project, through which they released one critically acclaimed album.
Then, in 2006, growing infatuations for kuduro led to the formation of Buraka Som Sistema. Initiating the project as a regular club night, they met their fourth member, MC/producer Conductor (b. Andro Carvalho), who had previous experience with the critically praised eclectic hip-hop group Conjunto Ngonguenha. Word of mouth about them started to grow fast, which led to packed club nights and acclaimed gigs in the Portuguese summer festival circuit. In September, the limited-edition debut EP From Buraka to the World was released, quickly selling out its supply and gaining rapturous critical applause, while national radio and video airplay for the track "Yah" grew exponentially until reaching near-saturation status by the start of 2007.
This was when international interest arrived. A low-key 7" single release, Yah/Sem Makas, soon achieved considerable recognition, as support from notable club DJs led to a widespread interest in Buraka Som Sistema. A number of highly praised single releases and celebrated gigs around the globe followed within a year, cementing their growing reputation. All of this culminated in November of 2008 with the European release of their eagerly awaited debut full-length, Black Diamond, which garnered generally positive reviews from critics. ~ Ricardo Rainho