Brass-band music, Portugal, Hip Hop, Paris, Kizomba – DJ Radikal is multifaceted, that’s for sure. Also his artist’s name “Radikal” is rather surprising when listening to his typically rather soft sounds. We met him on the „Noite de Kizomba“ in Stuttgart and unveil his versatility. We also found out how he ended up with his artists name “Radikal”.

His performance in Stuttgart

Kizomberos/as from Dortmund, Munich and of course from the wider area of Stuttgart found their sometimes quite long way to Stuttgart to the „Noite de Kizomba“ in order to see DJ Radikal life. With a pleasant mix of classical and modern Kizomba, he created a great mood and many hours of dancing pleasure. The guests thanked him with the appropriate applause. But Victor Silvestre wasn’t only convincing as DJ. He presented himself as a very humorous and interested person to his host Afromoves. Thus, he asked us a lot about the German culture and about Stuttgart over a hearty white sausage breakfast and accompanied by brass-band music. We were not allowed to film or mention that he swayed to the music (he has a reputation to lose). 😉

Hip Hop origins

DJ Radikal was born in 1974 in Paris as son of Portuguese parents. His roots are in the world of Hip Hop for which he has a great passion. 1997 Radikal decided to emigrate to South Portugal in order to trace his origins. He established his reputation in the Hip Hop scene as DJ, producer and concert promoter. Hence his artist name “Radikal”, inspired by the French Hip Hop magazine “Radikal”. He kept his artist name from that time when he decided to play Kizomba.

He discovered Kizomba, Kuduro and Semba in Portugal through friends who brought him to the African clubs. He was in a relationship with an Angolan woman and due to her listened to Kizomba music every day. In his circle of friends are many Angolans and Cap Verdians, which helped him to understand not only the Portuguese but also the lyrics of the Creole Kizomba songs.

Return to France

In 2013 when he returned to Paris, Kizomba was still relatively new in France which was his motivation to start mixing and deejaying Kizomba there. Ever since then you can’t imagine the Kizomba scene without Radikal. Everyone has at least one Radikal song in his repertoire.

Victor is not full-time DJ. Nevertheless, it’s a very time-consuming activity. It’s not only the time behind the DJ desk. You need to find new music, make new mixes and publish them and all of this in a very high quality. He invests several hours daily for this.

Critical points in the DJ scene

Victor is a bit critical about the current developments in the scene. Many “new” DJs play music for free or nearly nothing in order to become famous, to travel for free or to “be seen”. This leads to dropping prices. Therefore, the effort stands in no relation with the remuneration, especially if your focus is on quality. There must be a balance between passion for Kizomba and Business.

Also, the payment morality leaves a lot to be desired. Some organizers of big festivals (with high ticket prices and focus on masses) don’t want to pay (much) while organizers of small festivals often pay but make less money themselves.

„I can stand out from the crowd with my work“, says Radikal, especially with his mixes, surprises and novelties that he presents repeatedly. He chooses his music according to his gut feeling and own taste. Of course, he also pays attention to the guests’ wishes, but when a song does not trigger emotions in him, he doesn’t play it. “You need to bring across the personal passion”.

Developments in the music

After the foundation of Kizomba in Angola in the 90s, a lot of influence came from Cap Verde and more and more songs were sung in Creole. For a long time, it was seen as “music of the black” in Portugal. Just after the first Portuguese produced album, the boom started and white singers followed. Then Kizomba slopped over to Paris. Until then, there were no mixes, no Urban Kiz and hardly any teachers or DJs. All of this only started in the past years with the starting point France and nowadays whole Europe. This seems to be necessary though, since “the people always want new input”.

What you personally like is in the end a matter of taste. He sees the development of Kizomba as positive, interesting and versatile. There are many new styles and new creations. The expansion towards Asia and Latin-America grows and with this there will be again more innovations and developments.

Radikal: open, likeable, a man who can see things critical and open addresses them. Despite the Kizomba topics we found out a few personal details about DJ Radikal and we find he is a real asset to the Kizomba scene.

An interview from Eva Fischer

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply