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Meet Kampire, an East African female DJ bringing new rhythms to dance music

On a Saturday night in Black Flamingo, a cramped basement venue in Brooklyn, New York City, Kampire is blasting out a set of body-shaking, high energy African electronic music. The DJ, who grew up in Zambia before moving to Kampala in Uganda, has built a reputation for her energetic DJ gigs, which are filled with the most innovative sounds from Africa and beyond: Afro-house, Latin bass, St Lucian soca, Congolese soukous, baile funk, kudoro, gqom, and other, currently nameless and undefinable genres coming out of studios in Kampala. The high octane tempos and twisting polyrhythms are a far cry from the familiar four-to-the-floor pulse of house and techno, but the crowd is up for it. “It’s always a big surprise when people respond well to my music,” Kampire tells me a day before the show. “I started out playing for my friends in my city. Seeing that the music translates across borders is really cool.”

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