She possesses a sparkle and charisma found only in the best performers. And if you want it, Blaya, the singer of Portuguese band Buraka Som Sistema, is ready to teach you the frenetic dance moves that became her trademark.
Blaya is stylish, energetic and down-to-earth. And she’s made a name for herself because of it, both on stage and off. Ah! And she moves her rear and hips quite unlike anyone else. She has sung at some of the most important music festivals in the world as a member of the Portuguese band Buraka Som Sistema – which has become unique for having lent a new sound to the Angolan kuduro genre, making it universal in the process. Now she offers to visit people’s houses and teach them how to shake their things like the finest African stars with the innovative “Pack Five Bundas”, a private lesson for five people to dance like Blaya in the comfort of their own home. The concept of the artist visiting people’s homes is rather revolutionary as it breaks down the barrier between artist and audience, making them more human, accessible and, to a certain extent, more attractive and appreciated. Each “Pack Five Bundas” lasts for 75 minutes and costs 10 euros per person. The idea came about because Blaya started to get messages from people who had seen her performances, wanting tips on how to move like her. Intense, frenetic and graceful. When performing with Buraka Som Sistema, Blaya combines styles from various parts of the world, from kuduro to Caribbean zouk to dancehall from Jamaica. And in her classes, she teaches her charges how to do the twerk that got Miley Cyrus into hot water, as well as the buri shake, buri-buri, booty popping and booty shaking. Confused? Perhaps you should take one of her classes. Or take a look at them on Youtube to get a better idea.
Interview: Bernardo Mendonça —— Photo: Vasco Colombo
M —— You were born in Brazil, but grew up in Portugal. What was your childhood like?
B —— I spent my childhood playing with Barbies until I was 12, dancing to the Brazilian music my father played full blast every weekend at home. I’m Portuguese but my blood is Brazilian and so is my swing. As a teenager, I wore all kinds of weird clothes. I’ve been preppy, then I wore a dress over trousers, I’ve worn a tracksuit with the bottoms tucked into socks and deck shoes. I was strange, different. But that’s how I got here, right?
M —— Before Buraka Som Sistema, you were a dancer and a rapper.
B —— Yes, aged 14, in the Alentejo where I grew up, I began rapping. I was an MC. Then, it was only when I went to secondary school that I started dancing. I started in Buraka just as a dancer, they recruited me for that, and then they asked me to sing a song. And I began singing, one, two, three…and now I do everything. I’m essentially a stage performer.
Where do you get your energy from? There may be other singers with a better voice, but this energy and magic you’ve got is unique. Why so?
In the next days we’ll be publishing Blaya’s interview here. Meanwhile, you can watch hear and read the full feature now in Mente 01, available for free download at Apple App Store. Do it here: