Os Gambuzinos ‘Este Bairro’ (RCA Victor, 1972)

by angola45

A long hissing start for a slow burning track (and, again, a crappy edit job, sorry guys) courtesy of the rockers Gambuzinos. It may seem an odd choice for this blog but it does address a growing concern: to accurately represent Luanda’s cultural ecology before independence. We all know that it wasn’t just dancehall semba bands but it is a buyer’s market and never in a million years will vinyl dealers come up with ‘hey, this one’s for the broken hearted: here’s a depressing as hell mid-tempo track by an Angolan folk-rock band’. Well, then again, that approach did work for similar Zambian bands such as WITCH (and you may also be reminded of Ghana’s Psychedelic Aliens listening to this, but I’d bet that the greatest inspiration for it was Brazilian Roberto Carlos’s ballads).

Anyway, Os Gambuzinos were, indeed, a distinct rock band (eBay traders will throw in psych for good measure) from the early 70s, better known for assimilating influences from the usual suspects (Jovem Guarda bands, Animals, Stones, Faces, Cream) and reconfiguring it within Angola’s particular musical landscape. And we might argue that, like África Show, it is the melodic use of alto sax (by Nelo Duarte, a great musician that would die on a car wreck in 75) and organ (although you can’t really tell from this track) that set it apart from many other bands. And I believe that the singer here was Pedrito (that you’ll know from this very blog).

“Este Bairro” (“This Neighborhood”) is as plaintive as they come and it goes like this:
“I’ll stop coming by
I’ll stop dating here
this neighborhood only brings me sadness, anguish and loneliness
darling, if you never see me again please don’t cry”

And on that sad little alto sax solo you really get an overwhelming sense of loss. “Este Bairro” was released as a b-side by RCA Victor in 1972 (ref# 30.002). The a-side was “Kalumba” (included on one of Buda’s Angola CDs and on the first Cazumbi African garage LP compilation on NoSmoke).