DJ Daniel Haaksman

A Berliner’s Love for Kuduro


Daniel Haaksman, a Berlin-based DJ and producer, has found a new musical passion in the energetic rhythms of Kuduro, a dance music genre originating from Angola. Despite the challenges of bringing this African music style to Europe, Haaksman’s dedication and love for Kuduro have led him to integrate it into his music production and promote it on the international stage.

Early Career and Discovery of Kuduro

In 2005, Haaksman founded Man Recordings, a record label initially specializing in Brazilian music, particularly Baile Funk from Rio de Janeiro. His 2004 album “Rio Baile Funk Favela Booty Beats” remains a reference for Funk Carioca. Over the years, the label expanded to include other music styles like Kwaito from South Africa, Tribal Guarachero from Mexico, Cumbia from South America, and Kuduro from Angola.

Haaksman’s interest in Kuduro was sparked by its perfect dance music qualities. He describes it as highly energetic, capable of exciting crowds, and a joy to play as a DJ. He was so captivated by Kuduro that he sought ways to travel to its source – Luanda, Angola.

Journey to the Source of Kuduro

Despite the challenges of high travel costs and obtaining a visa, Haaksman’s opportunity to visit Luanda came in 2011 when he was invited by the German embassy in Luanda to perform at the União Eletrónica festival. At the festival, European and Angolan DJs played electronic music together, and Haaksman had the chance to perform with one of his Kuduro idols, Tony Amado. Amado is considered one of the creators of the Kuduro style, contributing new dance steps and beats.

Promoting Kuduro in Berlin

Back in Berlin, Haaksman had the opportunity to meet and work with other Kuduro artists at the Kuduro Sessions event organized by the Angolan government. However, he noticed that the Kuduro dance floor was mainly filled with people of Angolan, Mozambican, or Portuguese origin who came specifically for this music, while the techno dance floors with European or Berlin DJs were much more crowded.

Future Plans

Despite the challenges, Haaksman has made contacts in Luanda and plans to continue working with Angolan artists. He is currently working on a project involving a new music style called Kuhouse, a blend of the slower, instrumental House music and the fast, textual Kuduro. This hybrid style has been successful in Luanda and is well-received in Europe, making it the likely basis for Haaksman’s future project with Angolan artists.

Daniel Haaksman’s passion for Kuduro has not only enriched his own music production but also contributed to the global recognition of this vibrant Angolan music genre. His story is a testament to the power of music in bridging cultural gaps and bringing people together.