Angolan 45s and more

Mário Silva ‘Bossa do Violão’ (Ngola, 1973)

Happy New Year!
Here’s a wonderfully whimsical track by Mário Silva. It was released in 1973 through Ngola with ref# LD-265 (b-side: ‘Maza’), the very same year Mário played guitar on the huge Santos Júnior’s hit, ‘Madalena’. Júnior was a former member of Musangola and Bossa 70.

Later on, of course – alongside singer Artur Adriano, bassist Manuelito, guitar soloist Manuel Quental and a host of others right up to the 80s – Mário and Júnior would became members of Kissanguela, one of the most emblematic post-revolutionary Angolan bands due to its ties with JMPLA, the youth organization of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola party. Mário is still active on the Angolan music scene.

On hiatus

A lot still to do, loads of 45s piling up, but this is hard work and my present schedule prevents me from doing it right. So Angola45 is on hiatus until further notice. In the meantime I urge you to explore the links section.


Angola Instrumentals (a roundup)

Os Kiezos ‘Princesa Rita’ (Rebita, 1975)

“Princesa Rita”, a huge hit and a highlight on the Kiezos’ catalogue. Check here and here for further posts on the band and extra info!

Tino diá Kimuezo feat. Conjunto Merengue “Tino Mugu ió Dimba Diobe” (Merengue, 1975)

By popular demand, here’s another Tino diá Kimuezo track. I understood- from a couple of comments and emails- that most listeners had never heard of him. Also, that the “Soul of Angola” compilation was becoming increasingly harder to find – not to mention that this very track is spelled differently there, as “Tino mungo yo dimba diobe“. Finally, that some of you found his mainly acoustic arrangements both refreshing and surprising. So, here you go. [Details as per my previous post].

[This post is dedicated to Global Groove]

Tino diá Kimuezo feat. Conjunto Merengue “N’ga Naminina” (Merengue, 1974)

Still active, the 72-year old Tino diá Kimuezo (born Faustino Manuel) is a veteran of the Angola music scene. Although he is mostly remembered for his love songs, he was actually targeted and eventually arrested by the Portuguese political police due to his patriotic leanings. One of the founders of Angolanos do Ritmo – in 1956, still a teenager – Tino was also associated with Bessangana, Turma Nguba and Sobongos, and was part of the carnival scene. In the mid-60s he was one of the many singers cast in the kutonocas (the Sunday afternoon live music festivals).

“N’ga Naminina” was a huge hit in the early 70s, here recorded with Carlos Vieira Dias’ Conjunto Merengue. A year later, in 1975, the Merengue label would also release “Tino Mugu Io Dimba Diobe/Kibela Kiami” (ref# MPA-4024), a single with a couple of tracks you can find on the “Soul of Angola” compilation. In 1975, Kimuezo – no relation with Elias diá Kimuezo – became one of the singers of the popular Kissanguela band – associated with the JMPLA, the youth organization of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola party.

Conjunto Ana N’gola “Puxa Odette” (N’gola, 1974)

I know of at least another couple of Ana N’gola – or Anangola – singles: “Catanga/Lamento do Monteiro” and “Deixa Ondas/Anangola”. But I was never able to gather much information on the band. I know it had ties with Pedro Franco – of Mini Bossa 70 fame – and that one of its members was Dulce Trindade. So maybe – seeing as Trindade plays in Angola 70 – Samy Ben Redjeb can shed some light on the subject? Vando and Fefé do Marçal (Alfredo Faustino) were others involved.

António Filipe’s “Puxa Odette” was issued by N’gola circa 1974, with ref# LD-157. Its b-side was Pedro Franco’s “Kidingo”.
Ana N’gola means sons of Angola in kimbundu.

Se possui informações sobre o Conjunto Ana N’gola por favor comente!

Santocas “O Massacre de Kifangondo” (MPLA/DIP, 1976)

As scheduled, 38 years ago, on November 11, 1975, MPLA’s (the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola) Agostinho Neto, from Luanda, officially proclaimed Angola’s independence. He was not alone. Holden Roberto, the FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola) leader, was declaring it from Ambriz, while UNITA’s (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola) Jonas Savimbi was professing as much from Nova Lisboa (now, Huambo). A sign of things to come. So it would be naive to dedicate a post to the occasion.  Instead, here’s a song by the unapologetic Santocas (easily recognizable, although the single, released by MPLA’s DIP – Department of Information and Propaganda with ref# S002, was issued without any credits – btw, more on Santocas in future posts) that epitomizes not only Angola’s but also the world’s conflicts. “O Massacre de Kifangondo” refers to a complex and decisive battle that took place just a day before these events, on November 10, 1975, involving FNLA’s forces aided by the Zairean and South-African armies, and the victorious MPLA troops (the FAPLA) backed by Cuban soldiers and Soviet Union officials. Further south, UNITA had the military support of the USA. Yes, all pieces were in place.

Santocas sings that the Kifangondo massacre – allegedly perpetrated by FNLA – will not be forgotten: “These barbarians still rape and torture children/ They’re lackeys paid with American dollars/ These Judas will have to be judged / By the people”. So, Angolans were independent. They were also finding out that the liberator could become the oppressor.

Orquestra A Voz d’África “Não ao Tribalismo” (Merengue, 1977)

A low ref#, MPA-4002 to be precise, leads people to believe that this was one of Merengue’s first singles, presumably released in 1974-75. But you only have to listen to what the band is singing about to realize it just couldn’t be. The a-side is a dedication to a FAPLA (the People’s Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola) leader – José Mendes de Carvalho, known as Hoji Ya Henda – dead in combat against the Portuguese army, so no way the Portuguese censors would allow that one to pass. And the b-side, “Não ao Tribalismo”, is all about praising other commanding officers (Valódia, Gika, etc) and, of course, president Agostinho Neto, while criticizing tribalism, capitalism, imperialism, federalism, etc, and calling for unity. One of its ironies: it is sung in Portuguese – not only as means of entitlement but also as a way to exhort national identity.

Fans of classic Congolese music of the 60s and 70s will indubitably recognize where A Voz d’África and its leader, Othis Mbembay, were coming from. Like many of the Cabinda bands (Super Coba, Cabinda Ritmo, Bela Negra, etc) and singers (Matadidi Mário, Pépé Pepito, Nonó Manuela, etc), they were actually Angolan expats, refugees and immigrants in DR Congo. Mbembay was also a member of the famous Inter-Palanca band, led by Matadidi and also including Diana Simão Nsimba (a former member of Sam Mangwana’s Festival des Maquisards and Tabu Ley’s African Fiesta National). Mbembay and Simão would also form Os Malucos and Olímpia in the mid-seventies. So this is part of a very interesting narrative: the way in which the Congolese sound influenced Angola’s post-independence music. There’s a compilation here, for sure.

Short-lived, like many bands in the day, A Voz d’África included a typical Congolese line-up: a lead singer and three backing vocalists harmonizing (Diwidi-Andre, Adolfo-Bunga, ‘Drolly’ Pedro and Domingos Bento), bass (Theodór), percussion (Paulo ‘Prince’ and Manuelito Boal) and dueling guitars (Nsukami N’Dombasi on rhythm and Mbembay soloing).

Listen up!

[This post is dedicated to the Likembe blog]

Note: I took these band credits from another A Voz d’África single, “Kumba” (MPA-4053), but the sleeve was so worn that I’m not really sure of the spelling; and there’s always the possibility of line-up changes.

Note II: Angola’s music scene was packed with talent. Merengue hardly repeated artists and in 4 years released tracks by Teta Lando, Super Coba, Os Astros, Conjunto Merengue, Lewis, Bela Negra, Tino Diá Kimuezo, Ngoma Jazz, João Anesse, Avôzinho, Jucas, Jorge Manuel, Os Anjos, Nelas, Rui Morais, Carlos Lamartine, Prado Paim, Mário Matadidi, Luis Visconde, João Pequeno, Cardoso Soares, Paulo Jorge, Buarque, Pedro Romeu, Jucas, Nito Nunes, Maró Riba, Marques Nascimento, Joy Artur, Jacinto Lima, Juju Tony, Jaburu, Minguito, Filipito, Tito, José Agostinho, Paulo Neto, Nonó Manuela, Quim Manuel, Pépé Pepito, Carlos Burity, Maiuka and Tico Costa.

Tchinina feat. Os Bongos “Teya-Teya” (Rebita, 1975)

As I’ve mentioned before, Analog Africa’s “Angola Soundtrack 2” is about to be released and knowing most of its alleged tracklist I can absolutely vouch for it. But seeing as all compilations are intrinsically flawed I hope that one of its consequences will be encouraging listeners to dig deeper. For instance, an obvious shortcoming: the omission of female singers.

Bear in mind that, historically, women in Angola had less access to education and employment, fewer economical opportunities, and had to struggle against all sorts of social and sexual stereotypes. But when it was time to generate a meaningful audience across class lines, they eschewed gender hierarchies performing alongside men and celebrating Angola’s erstwhile beliefs and, specifically, Luanda’s newfound urban values.

They also got involved with clubs and residents’ associations at organizational levels and very soon a whole generation of singers and songwriters – such as Lourdes Van-Dúnem, Dina Santos, Belita Palma, Milá Melo, Conceição Legot, Milita, Lilly Tchiumba, Alba Clington, Garda, Sara Chaves, Conchinha de Mascarenhas, Fernanda Ferreirinha, Celita Santos or, obviously, Tchinina – helped transform women’s role in society. From then on, women were not only the subject of song – idealized lovers, mothers, aunts or grandmothers or, on the other hand, targets of social criticism– but also producers and consumers of songs.

It is of the utmost importance to acknowledge women’s contributions to Angola’s 60s and 70s narrative of cultural production and nationalism. Their role – especially in the music scene – has been ghettoized for too long, considering their artistic achievements and their willingness to engage as equals in a context of colonization.

Born in September 19, 1950, on the Huambo province, Teresa da Cruz Manjenje ‘Tchinina’ had a rough childhood. A runaway, she auditioned for Ndimba Ngola – then touring Malanje – in 1970 and joined the band. In 1973 she recorded her first single, “O amor é como as rosas/Utima ua teka teka”, and got involved with the kutonoca itinerary music shows, performing with Milá Melo, Teta Lando, Mário Gama, Lourdes Van-Dúnem, Belita Palma, Elias diá Kimuezo, António Paulino, David Zé, Urbano de Castro, Artur Nunes, Cirineu Bastos, Zé Viola and Sofia Rosa.

She recorded “Mãe Angola”, “Lamento”, “Alundu”, “Somaiangue”, “Ngangaté” and “Maia Ngola” for Valentim de Carvalho and Fadiang, supported by the likes of África Ritmos, África Show, Os Gingas, Cabinda Ritmos or, as in this case, Boto Trindade’s Os Bongos. Fleeing the raging civil war she left Angola on March 1976, departing for Portugal. Opportunities to continue her career were few and far between. As recently as July 2012 she was distinguished in a ceremony in Huambo as an outstanding artist who did much to popularize Angolan music worldwide.