Principe records at Camden Assembly

In a London debut, Lisbon label Principe records brought three of the label’s figureheads and stars of Lisbon’s Afro-Portugese dance music scene, DJ Marfox, DJ Nigga Fox and DJ Firmeza to London’s Camden Assembly.

Principe is dedicated to releasing 100% real contemporary dance music coming out of the city, it’s suburbs, projects & slums.

General view of the Cova da Moura neighborhood of Amadora during a tourist sightseeing tour

An explosive mix of African kuduro, electronica and deep house created out of Lisbon’s heavily isolated housing projects is being delivered to cities around the world thanks to Principe.

DJ Marfox, the star of Lisbon’s Afro-Portuguese dance music scene, with bedroom produced beats earning him a cult like following. Electronic experimentalist, DJ Nigga Fox, whose adoption of the ‘fox’ suffix is a nod to Marfox’s influence. And finally, the technically dexterous, mainly playing his own music, DJ Firmeza performs.

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Akin to London’s grime scene, the all immersive live performances are a full on experience. Witness dance possessions and transport yourself to Lisbon’s underground dance scene at a show.

Throughout each set I heard sounds from all of these ex colonial countries, one sound that stood out for me was like Sri-Lankan drums, the Yak-bera, Gatabera, Dawula and Thammamattama, also known as ‘demon drums’ traditionally played to communicate messages to the masses and to signal the beginning of a ceremony at a temple.

Euphoria seeped into a couple of tracks bringing the nostalgia of 90s electronica effortlessly blending itself into heavy tribal beats.

Portugese colonial history includes Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, Guinea – Bissau, Cape Verde, Sao Tome, Principe, Goa, India, East Timor, Sri Lanka and Macau among others, spreading Catholisicm as well as leaving a legacy of injustice, violence and racism. Lisbon now represents a lucid melting pot of communities from Asia, Latina America, Africa and Europe.

All in all an unleashed, uncontrolled rebellion comes through each set, Principe are uncompromising and unchangeable, inviting you in, but with defences up, protecting it’s culture and integrity.

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