Kuduro versus Afro house

by José N'dongala

(Kuduro versus Afro house)


Someone from Brazil has asked me the following question.
I do believe that her question might also concern you.




1) How can we define “Kuduro” and “Afro house” and what are the major differences between both, the dance and the music?


2) Are both the music and the dance from Angola, yes or no?


First of all thank you again for asking me this interesting question. The question is NOT at all easy and I can hardly answer with yes or no because it needs further development and profound analyses to better understand and appreciate the answer. Furthermore it will help you build some insight as to why.






Kuduro means, “Hard Ass” (or stiff bottom). It emerged in Angola in the late 1980’s. Tony Amado came to this wonderful idea after seeing the movie Kickboxer from Jean Claude van Damme in 1989. In the begining when it appeared, the music was known as “batida” (beats). In the years 90’s we used to dance Kuduro as Jean Claude van damme did in his movie kickboxer from 1989.


it’s a creation made in the musseques. It’s a up tempo ghetto sound with hard batidas. It’s a mix of electronic forms of music with Angolan traditional beats. The singers use to tell a complete story and “speak” all the time as they perform (sing). Most of the song is rapped on a “fast way”. It’s similar to singing rap music. However kuduro is not singing rap music.


it’s NOT a partner dance. But rather a single or groups dance.
Originally, in early 90’s, the dance steps were very limited to the mouvements done by Jean claude Van Damme in his mouve: Kickboxer from 1989. As the time went by, Angolans created appropriate steps associated with our day by day cultural values to enrich the dance. While dancing Kuduro, the focus is on the “legs” with “funny”, “very crazy” hand and body mouvements. The funnier the better! If you are not yet familiar with Kuduro and you see Angolans dancing kuduro in Angola, you might think that they are “crazy” and completely “nuts” because of the dance mouvements that are not familiar to the western world. It’s simply a different culture!


It’s very frequent to see roda (a circle) with someone dancing alone in the middle. The some new steps are a form of the old bungula dance (not know by lot of people – only the kotas of my generation know what bungula is). Steps from other Angolan traditional dances have also enriched the dance. Kuduro has given new life and opportunities to lots of young Angolan people without future perspectives.


These are tree main Angolan Kuduro Artists of 1ste generation
1) Tony amado; 2) Sebém; 3) Dog Murras


These are tree main Angolan Kuduro Artists of the 2nd generation
1) dj Znobia; 2) Dj Killamu; 3) Puto Prata


Please note that in Angola kotas like me and others, rarelly dance Kuduro although we enjoy it when it’s done by the children and young people.


Everytime you want to laugh and feel good, please watch the kuduro video below;-).



Afro house or African house, Is a music and dance genre that is mostly practiced in Angola and South Africa. The “music” emerged “first” in “south Africa” in the early 90’s thanks to “house music”. However South Africans had not yet associated afro house music with special dancing steps as Angolans did. South African were deep into their kwaito music and dance. Because it represented a sign of “freedom” and later it became a “voice for South Africans”. However today the sounds of Afro house are being very predominant in South Africa.


Afro house “music” emerged in Angola via South Africa in the early 2000s. The “music” was not yet succesful neither was it associated with particular dancing steps due to the succes of Kuduro music and dance. The music became popular after 2005 when Angolan dancers came back from south Africa after having participated in kwaito dance competitions. Upon their arrival they started performing and teaching the steps they had learned and seen in south Africa. Thanks to their involvement the music and the dance gained in popularity in the late 2000s. When I was in Angola I could dance and enjoy afro house everywere because you can find and hear it in every corner of the street and in every taxi you take. It is like oxygen, you find it everywhere in Luanda.


In Angola afro house is “sometimes” called “house” by young people. In my humble opnion calling it “house” is not really appropriate because of many reasons I develop in my book that will be published in 2017.


According to me Angolan Afro house is “genetically modified – house music – infused with tribal sounds and vocals with heavy bass line”.


It’s a mix of african beats (“sometimes” remix african songs) with electronic forms of music. In Angola it’s song in calão (calão: Angolan Portugees) often mixed with regional languages – mostly lingala (from Congo RDC). South African afro house is song in their language but sometimes in english. South African afro house music is musically often similar with European and American “house music”. However, the Angolan one is very particular because it contains more African elements, more rhythmic variations, Angolan tribal vocals and samples. it also embodies all the subtleties of normal house music, yet it’s more profound, it’s song differently and it proclaims the heart and the spirit of Angolan people: mwangolé.


DJ Malvado is an Angolan well-know Dj also specialised in Afrohouse music.




Afro house music is “not rapped” (as in Kuduro) and is generally “song” on a moderated tempo. However in Kuduro Angolans “do no”t really “sing”, they “speak”. It’s rapped!!!
Afro house has a beautiful and several soft melodic motifs. However kuduro has hard batidas (beats) and has generally one main melodic motif from the begining of the song until the end. Musically speaking, kuduro can easily be written in 2/4 mesure (bar). However Afro house is always in 4/4 mesure (bar).


South Africans are not really into afro house dancing as we do in Angola. They are more focused in Kwaito dancing. Angolan afro house dance steps come from kwaito steps (from south Africa), african tribal dance mouvements and mostly “dombolo” mouvements from our brothers from Congo RDC. Because of the cultural influences of the former “Kingdom of Kongo” whose province (Mbanza congo) is still located in Angola.

From July 2014 to August 2015, I had once more the privilege to live again in my country Angola. During this time I visited all the municipalities of the province Luanda and some provinces in Angola in order to further my research. I could deeply analyse the different dance styles Afro house, Kuduro, Kizomba, Semba… It was very enriching.


Thanks to the research and development above, we can conclude that Kuduro music and dance are from Angola. However afro house “music” is NOT from Angola, it’s from South Africa. Angolans have certainly contributed – thanks to their creativity and afro house style – to promote afro house music and dance internationaly. Afro house as it is danced today – in every dance scene – is from Angola.


It’s vital to know that the names of all Angolan music and dance are always in one of our regional languages and they all have a special connotation and meaning such as Semba, Kuduro, Kizomba, Massemba, Kazukuta, Kabetula, Bungula… this approach is a “major key” in making research about Angolan dance and music!


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Thank you again for having trusted me this interesting question.


Feel free to keep asking questions (preferable by mail or by facebook). I will do my best to make time to answer all of them.