Avôzinho ‘Sakessa Mukongo’ (CDA, Merengue, 1975)
José Francisco Portugal (known as Avôzinho, nickname for grandpa) was born in Luanda’s Rangel neighborhood on April 5, 1953. In his teens he joins the band Ritmo Ngoma as lead singer. Four years later we find him with Nzo Yami’s Surpresa 73. In 1974 he performs with the Kiezos and is invited to record his first single by CDA (Sebastião Coelho’s Companhia de Discos de Angola).
Released a year later with the ref# MPA-4012 on the Merengue imprint, “Mamã Mamã Divua Diame/Sakessa Mukongo” is an infectious semba-rumba session that slowly gets under your skin. Accompanied by Merengue’s house band, led by the twin guitars of Carlitos Vieira Dias and José Keno, Avôzinho comes up as a suave, sophisticated singer, with a cool deliverance and a sharp sense of time. Notable on his compositions is the use of ceremonial rhythms learned from his mother as a kid.
In 1976 he joins Kissanguela Nito’s band. He’s later enlisted by the Angolenses and records ‘A Luta Continua’, a tribute to Agostinho Neto. He tours but chances of recording become scarce. He works as a mason and a carpenter. He died on January 9, 2001, of a malaria related disease.