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Kuenta i Tambu
Brett Russel

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Kuenta i Tambu

Sounds Like: A super-crunk, blacklight warehouse party surrounded by four separate Carnival parades.

For Fans Of: Major Lazer, Buraka Som Sistema, Machel Montano

Why You Should Pay Attention: A go-hard blend of peak rave synths and traditional Afro-Curaçaoan tambú music, Kuenta i Tambú (or K i T, for short) translates as "words and drums" in the Caribbean language Papiamento. It's a spare distillation of the music these Amsterdam party-starters pay tribute to, "work songs" originating from slaves in the formerly Dutch-occupied island of Curaçao. Their bananas, just-released debut, Tambútronic, puts rhythm above all, alongside beat-blasts and dance-beseeching chants by gum-cracking lead vocalist Diamanta von Lieshdek. It's a "worldwide ting," as they say: high-impact, dutty-wining single "Jackhammer" has been remixed by like-minded stars of global bass music and upcoming dates around the world will leverage the party in 2014. (They're playing SXSW and doing a U.S. tour in early summer.)

They Say: "We played a block party in the Bronx, and I was dancing with this old lady, I think she must have been 70 or so," says Roël Calister, the group's mastermind. "And she was wining, going on her knees, you know! People went fanatic. I think it was the hypnotizing beats of our drums, the tambús, which are the most important part of our set." 

Hear for Yourself: "Jackhammer" shames dance-floor half-assers with von Lieshdek's motivational chants:

by Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

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