Richard Elliot (Newcastle University, UK)


Batida has come to be used as a collective term for recent forms of electronic dance music associated with the Afrodisaporic DJs of Lisbon, first- or second-generation immigrants from Portugal’s former colonies (especially Angola, Guinea Bissau, Cabo Verde and São Tomé e Príncipe). It is influenced – and seen as an evolution of – the EDM musics that have come from these countries, especially the kuduro and tarraxinha music of Angola. There has been extensive coverage of the batida scene in online and print English language publications such as Vice/Thump, Fact magazine, The Wire and Resident Advisor. For a global dance music scene still dominated by Anglo-American understandings of popular music, batida is often compared to Chicago footwork and grime (just as fado has often been compared to the blues). The translation is a two-way process, with musicians taking on the role of explaining their music through extra-cultural references. This paper uses these attempts at musical translation as a prompt to explore issues of strangeness and encounter in responses to batida specifically and to situate them in the broader context of discourse around global pop. The discussion touches on recurring themes of sonic encounter, including cosmopolitics, particularity, authenticity, representation and appropriation.