Music has a beautiful way of flowering distinct movements out of social and economical squalor. We’ve seen it happen time and time again – from the embryonic flirtations of jazz and blues, and further down the timeline through hip-hop, house and grime. Something about any harsh environment breeds an untouchable level of innovation and endeavour, and long may that be the case.
Later on this month, we’re heading back to Lisbon where one of the finest purveyors of Portuguese electronica work their magic — Príncipe. The imprint’s Facebook page states that they’re “dedicated to releasing 100% real contemporary dance music coming out of this city, its suburbs, projects and slums”. But there’s no simple way of putting a finger on the Príncipe DNA. Kuduro, a style of Angolan music and dance that began in the early ’90s and became widely popular in Portugal, is an integral component, but Príncipe’s style also includes kizomba, funaná, house, afro house and batida, genres mostly (but not exclusively) rooted in Angola, Cape Verde and São Tomé E Príncipe.
Waving the Príncipe flag with pride are the likes of Nigga Fox, DJ Firmeza and Maboku, some of whom are getting a well-deserved amount of global attention. We’ll be welcoming some of the lesser-known (yet, in no way dimmer) lights at the heart of the movement to our screens. Famifox & Nunex, better known as Alto Nível Produções, rep one of the most promising younger crews to peep. Nidia Minaj’s brash ghetto funk is refreshingly unlike anything else. Puto Anderson & NinOo are two of the brightest fireflies from the Firma do Txiga collective; suitably placed on the tracklist of the recent Lisbon-focused CARGAA 2 release on Warp. On top of that, Blacksea Não Maya – a DJ trio consisting of Kolt, Noronha and Perigoso – will be running their hands on wax before their heavily-anticipated 12” rears its head on Príncipe later in 2015. Then there’s the Michael and Vito Corleone of the Príncipe dynasty, Marfox and Nervoso, churning out wonders B2B as they’ve been doing for yonks.