Batida are a Portuguese-based, Angolan-fronted sunny beats amalgamation featuring more guest stars than you could shake a stick at, and home to a live show so feisty it can light up a tent in a Derry summer monsoon (trust us, we saw it happen). Pedro Coquenão is the owner of this brainchild, though his baby couldn’t be what it is without the collective inputs of what seems like the very best of west-African fusion: Angolan rhythms form the core of his sound.
A happy mix of the most compulsively danceable of tunes and unlikely inspirations. Sure, the likes of Awesome Tapes From Africa and Damon Albarn’s fantastic Honest Jon’s label have done an incredibly good job of introducing us to an entire lost continent’s music that largely exists outside the industry PR system recently, but this charming adaption of it is a wonderful development. Few in the modern industry could claim to take their inspiration from a mixture of Angolan tracks from the 1970s and modern dance.
Batida, though, didn’t start out as a band. Coquenão ran a radio show aimed at promoting African tracks, and his own productions came about as a natural progression from the DJing role, in part as he felt there simply wasn’t enough music around to put out there. Amongst his inspirations was the need to bridge traditional sounds and modern dance, something lifted straight from the successes of the hip-hop scene’s era-blending. It’s the result that’ll excite the most, though: twisting, sunshine melodies with unpredictable directions and glorious energy; it’s also fantastically difficult to pin down.
The weather right now practically demands it? The originality? Have you ever checked out a band from Portugal before? These guys were by far the best thing we came across when exploring Derry Music City a few weeks back, an import from the wonderful EXIT Festival no doubt booked with a smile and a ‘I bet they’ve never seen something like this before’ smirk. This is a band I’ll be whipping out at house parties for a long, long time to come. It’s a shame they’re based so far away.
And the flip side?
A quick rummage through the back catalogue suggests that the recorded content doesn’t quite capture the live set up, though given the live set up included a rampage of a dance off and a whole array of dancers weaving their way on and off stage throughout (and – get this – they actually added to the set-up, too), that’s not too much of a critique. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if an interesting new variety of off-beat, exciting dance is your cup of tea, you’d be mad not to.
You’re out of luck for now, I’m afraid, so grab a few slabs of their vinyl here, instead. Unless you feel like a trip to Portugal, or Slovakia, where they’re booked to play later this month…
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Up & Comers is jointly produced fortnightly by Goldenplec and