In and around Lisbon, music never stops changing. Far from being the city frozen in the time that she was a few years ago, the Portuguese capital has woken up from a mellow slumber to reveal her radiant and cosmopolitan face. At last, she’s proud to show the world her cultural richness in full. This renewed dynamism has been, above all, through music – the reason why we’re here after all.
From the wild block parties in the Quinta do Mocho neighbourhood where you can go crazy until the first light of dawn to a backdrop of kuduro and batida, to the historic B.Leza club on the banks of the Tagus – the gateway to African sounds in the capital – Lisbon’s musical heart beats with the feverish impulse and frenetic rhythms born of cultural fusion. This first half of the year shows that this trend is only growing stronger. After his anthem ‘Nova Lisboa’, the Portuguese-Cape Verdean singer Dino d’Santiago returned to celebrate Lisbon’s creole culture with his funaná hit ‘Kriolu’, alongside high-profile rapper Julinho KSD. In the space of just one year, KSD managed to get creole rap to the top of the charts, aided by the simultaneous successes of Rafa G, DreNaz, and Vado Más Ki Ás, all of whom are featured in this playlist. Once marginalised, creole rap is now enjoying unprecedented recognition in Portugal, and the Lisbon region is at the heart of this rise.
Also in this rap scene imbued with African influences, young women are making a name for themselves, skillfully surfing the Afrobeats wave which has been in vogue for many years now. Look out for names like Cintia, Nenny, and Carla Prata, all of whom are in their early twenties. Their music shares the same strength, the same determination, and the same penchant for smooth polyrhythmic beats. A synergy between all the players in this scene would make it grow with even more vitality and diversity, much like the buzz around and between artists that was built up in the batida scene at the beginning of the last decade (and continues today).
Let's get on to the famous batida which can be heard all over in the clubs in the White City. True to form, established labels like Enchufada and Príncipe have been offering their share of haunting percussive craziness over the past few months and redrawing the boundaries of a constantly changing sound in doing so. From the well known names like Pedro and Nídia, to the ultra-talented young guard epitomised by Vanyfox and Danifox (to name but a few), batida and its evolving sounds haven’t left my headphones since the beginning of the year – as this selection shows.
Welcome to Lisbon!