Lisbon: How African music is breaking down racial barriers

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This year, France is celebrating Portuguese culture with concerts, exhibitions and performances from the country’s top artists. To mark the occasion, FRANCE 24’s culture show Encore! takes you on a musical voyage to Lisbon. The Portuguese capital has a sound like no other European city, where a boom in music influenced by African beats is eroding social barriers and making waves internationally.

Presenter Eve Jackson meets award-winning Portuguese star Dino D’Santiago, who is forming a bridge between two continents. The singer’s family come from one of Portugal’s former colonies, Cape Verde. With five acclaimed albums, he uses his voice to bring African rhythms and culture to more people. Dino is a champion of Lisbon’s new wave of Afro-electronic sounds, singing of a new Lisbon: a city that recognises and accepts its diverse social fabric.

The musician takes us to one of Lisbon’s 67 social projects, Quinta Do Mocho, which has become an open-air street artist gallery and the centre of the capital’s electronic music scene. There, Dino introduces us to the star DJ leading the movement, DJ Marfox, who is producing beats in a converted studio in his mother’s house. He plays us his latest sounds, including tracks by Angolan singer Pongo, who is becoming the queen of the African rhythm known as Kuduro. The artist fled Angola’s civil war in the 1990s and brought the sound of her country, Kuduro, with her to Lisbon. We join her at a concert on the Paris leg of her tour.

We end the show with a concert from the enchanting Batukadeiras Orquestra: a group of female drummers specialising in batuka, a rhythmic call-and-response style created in Cape Verde during the early days of the slave trade.