Some interesting new albums from Angolan artists, or with Angolan roots, have wormed their way into my ears lately. The musical spectrum spreads about as wide as possible when you lump booty-shaking club bangers with folk and semba, but the music here all shares an Angolan heart.
Let’s start with 69-year-old, gravel-voiced, former pro footballer Bonga, who has released a new album called Hora Kota. He’s led a fascinating life. At one time he held the Portuguese record for the 400 meters; he also played professional soccer in Europe, until he was forced to flee to the Netherlands for his outspoken views in support of Angolan independence. Age hasn’t slowed Bonga down at all, and Hora Kota is near the top of the world music charts right now.
The video for the song “Kambua” features a group of partiers bizarrely wandering the desert until they find a dance party in a shipping container. Check it out.
This next project, called Batida, is heavily influenced by Angolan music from the era when Bonga started his career in the early '70s. Batida is the creation of Angolan/Portuguese DJ Mpula, a.k.a. Pedro Coquenão. He samples music, videos, photos and radio from Angola in the 1970s and remixes it with a heavy electronic beat, in the kuduro style of Angola. This music is made for dancing, but the social commentary and political messages run deep. The video for the song “Bazuka (Quem Me Rusgou?)” uses footage from the Angolan civil war and samples a child soldier, years later, asking, “Who ‘drafted’ me?” Powerful music.
Finally, a group not actually from Angola, but heavily influenced by Angolan kuduro. Buraka Som Sistema are Portuguese, but they fill the dance floors with music that mixes kuduro and electronica. This music evolved in a suburb of Lisbon called Amadora, where many Angolan immigrants live. Several of the members grew up in Angola and others in Portugal. Together they’ve helped develop kuduro into a global phenomenon that kids around the world are dancing to. This first full length album came out in 2008 and includes a song called “Sound of Kuduro.” You may recognize M.I.A. as one of the guest vocalists here, and you’ll love the killer dance moves.
Buraka Som Sistema's song “Hangover (BaBaBa)” on the album Komba, released last November, includes some amazing vocal sampling and corresponding use of video.
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on May 23, 2012