Minguito ‘N’Gue Tula Kubanza Roça Yame’ (Rebita, early 70s)

by angola45

Minguito (short for Domingos Luís Garcia) was a charismatic concertina player born in January 5, 1942, in the Bengo province. He became blind at the age of 14 after contracting the measles. Acuminous, versatile and musically gifted, he’s a key transitional figure in Angola’s popular music. Minguito assimilated Portuguese, Brazilian and tropical folk songs while transcribing to his instrument – a gift from a Portuguese army official in 1964 – traditional Ambundu rhythms.

He first performed live on Labor Day, 1967, on the stage of Luanda’s Ngola Cine. There are reports of his bewildering stage presence, his dance moves and good humoured lyrics but above all his dazzling display in the concertina. Someone with obvious physical limitations he was nevertheless, seen as a musician that could capture the exciting moment just before the colony’s independence.

His first hits, both with África Ritmos and the Três Jovens trio – “Minguito meu amor”, “Há inveja no mundo”, “Ngui mona ni kima”, “Várias moças de Luanda”, “Pequenas que se encostam”, “A fama de Minguito”, “Minguito em Angola”, “Minguito na Harmónica” -, express a vibrant and urgent urban scene in the first person. Intensely biographical, they also portray a new class of Angolans, cosmopolitan, informed and self-reliant.

His best recordings were made with the distinctive band Kiezos, led by the solo guitar of Marito Arcanjo. Songs like “Ngandala ku nganhala ò fuma”, “Várias moças de Luanda”, “Ngui mona mi kima”, “Arrancando o capim”, “Merengue escorrega só”, “Bangú Muna Ditari” or “Eme ngó Kofele” are also a step into electrified music, further developing Minguito’s idiosyncratic style.

The featured track, “N’Gue Tula Kubanza Roça Yame”, was issued by Rebita with ref# 1018 and displays a wonderful band counterpoint, with incredible beats and responses, to Minguito’s moving concertina playing and singing.

As the seventies drew to a close, he performed with the group Merengues, led by Carlitos Vieira Dias, recording tracks like “Ngi kalakala mivu ioso”, “Pensando Conforme o Tempo”, “Quinze dias na RDA” and “Kwanza” that embrace post-independence euphoria and hope.

But like many others he suffered the consequences of a country devastated by civil war and had few chances to perform and record throughout the years. Probably due to his blindness he never left Angola. He died an ill and poor man in June 28, 1995, a fixture as a street performer and beggar in Luanda’s markets.