Os Magníficos ‘Laura’ (Bayly, 1974)
“Angolan 45s and more”, so it says on the header. To honour such a promise here’s ‘Laura’, a song by Os Magníficos, hailing from Mozambique. It was released in 1974, at the height of the Portuguese Colonial War and a year before the country’s proclamation of independence. You wouldn’t guess the country’s turmoil by listening to it, of course. Not only was more outspoken political commentary against imperialistic rule censured, but Maputo (or Lourenço Marques, as it was then known) was fairly spared from the sanguinary combat up north.
A charmingly out of tune guitar conducts the proceedings and, as it was the case with most of Mozambique’s urban popular music, the song borrows from Portuguese, Afro-Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean folk forms. More importantly, it conveys a distinct East African sensibility. Mozambique has a diverse music tradition – including a tremendous rock scene in the 60s. It is mostly undocumented.
Bayly was a famed record store. Somodiscos manufactured the single with ref# LMB-020-S. The A-side is “Timoda”.