Tuesday, April 21
SAN FRANCISCO – I show up at 8 p.m. at the Rickshaw wearing a comfortable black dress and boots cuz tonight is gonna be an ass-shakin night with Buraka Som Sistema – Lil’ John, Riot and Conductor, and MC Kalaf. I’ve seen their videos on YouTube (along with 1.7 million other viewers), and I think what I love most about them is feeling like I’ve got three feet, and each of them is stomping inside three different countries simultaneously…Portugal, Angola and Brazil. What? A Femmebot can have three feet. Some of us have three boobs too. And when we dance to this music….ay ya yay.
Fellow Frisco Femmebot Erricka X is with me although she may have to bounce to see Guyanese songstress Melanie Fiona at 330 Ritch, one my old dark and dingy drum n bass haunts, but now…OMG! It’s like totally gentrified and the floors are DID (used to be cold concrete). They even have bottle service…My Ami style, OH WOW.
Anyways, Erricka does eventually bounce, and I am left on my own. This will be my first live show on my own…hmmm…what does it all mean???
A white Frisco B-O-Y who talks with a ghetto slang, and reminds me of a YO! kid, asks me if I know when the show will begin, and says he’s so excited because he loves Buraka and he’s dying to go to Angola. He’s not like the rest of the fans who start filling up the club: 20-somethings and 30-somethings who look like they work in offices during the day, and can afford to splurge on a $12 ticket on a Tuesday night. Beers are $5, not too bad, at least it’s not like $9 My Ami!
As the club fills up, I head upstairs so I have a good view for my camera. The lights go down, and MC Kalaf says, “San Francisco!!!!” Everyone goes NUTz as the group busts out “Wegue…wegue, wegue, wegue.”
The female MC/dancer is a mystery, can’t find anything about her, but eventually I find out she is MC Blaya, a Brazilian goddess mermaid who lives in Lisbon. Does she tour with them all the time? Why isn’t she included as a member of the band? In the SF Weekly write-up, she’s described as the band’s “secret weapon.” Maybe they’ll see that I borrowed their photo of her and they’ll update their web site.
She is, in a cliche word…ELECTRIC! Such a powerful presence, the crowd is in a samba booty trance by the end of the night…especially when she changes into a pair of skin-tight rainbow bright leggings! Now that’s a Femmebot. She’s ecstatic with the spirit.
And this is church. When the preachers tell the congregation to clap, we clap…when the preachers tell us to sing, we sing. In the midst of this I am meditating. This is what it is like to attend a live show sola. There isn’t anyone around to entertain with pointless conversation…there isn’t anyone around to complain…there isn’t anyone around to interrupt my F-L-O-W. I can stand here and compose a novel in my mind. My head disconnects from my neck from left to right. My shoulders pulse. My breath enters the four quadrants of my torso then down to my hip, hip, hipzzz. It’s a yoga-samba-rave dance and I’m right there with homegirl on stage. I’m ecstatic with the spirit.
Suddenly I think of Michelle in New York. We used to make up dance routines to Janet Jackson…and then I’m thinking of my sister in Boston. We used to make up dance routines to Blondie in the basement of our house…and then I’m thinking of my Virtual Gypsy. We used to do the techno twist at bad clubs in Chapel Hill…and then I’m thinking of the Indigo Fairy and the belly dancing bounce. I’m alone and not alone. It’s true what they say about music…it connects us. “Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free…at night I lock the doors when no one else can see…” Yeah, Madonna. The High Femmebot. What do you think those cone boobs were all about?
I can see why dancing was considered a sin in Puritanical cultures. It unleashes the raw, sheer power of female. It is dangerous. When Buraka’s mystery MC girl is bouncing her jelly, the B-O-Yz fade into the background, cell phone cameras are raised and the hypnotism begins…or maybe it’s just me. I can see her Brazilian mermaid energy buzzing like a force field from the center of her belly and zapping the jumping crowd. Where does it come from? Why do some women have this and others don’t? If you can’t tell, I’m fascinated by the solar plexus. Probably because I just recently re-discovered mine. It takes some practice to project it with control. Yoga helps. But it’s not like samba. Samba cultivates this energy much better. That’s why Brazilian women are so gorgeous! Besides being physically attractive, their energy is all light. This is why they are the most beautiful women in the world, and Buraka needs to hold on to this chic.
When I fall out the front door of the club, the front door man says, “Amazing, right?”
“Yes, that girl…”
“She’s a star,” he says before I can.
Can’t wait to watch it rise, I think to myself, as I walk down to Van Ness to catch the next bus home.
About Buraka Som Sistema:
In just two years the group has released a slew of breakthrough singles, torched the blogosphere with their MIA featuring viral video ‘Sound Of Kuduro’, and wowed audiences in more than 13 countries with the mesmerizing dance-driven spectacle at the heart of kuduro. No wonder Fader mag dubbed their live feast, “One of the most jaw-droppingly effusive club moments we’ve experienced.” Read more and book them…