Angolan 45s and more

Tag: Conjunto Merengue

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.

Juju Tony ‘Isua Ioso’ (Merengue, 1975)

Here’s a wonderful semba by Juju Tony celebrating Angola’s independence. “Those who come to harm us can stay on their lands. Nobody has the right to oppress us on our own land. Go, go back from whence you came”, says, in Portuguese, on the back cover. A not so subtle reminder that the Portuguese administration of the territory had come to an end.

It was issued by CDA’s Merengue imprint with ref# MPA-4048, in late 1975, and featured the label’s house band conducted by Carlitos Vieira Dias (son of Ngola Ritmos’s Liceu Vieira Dias and formerly with Negoleiros do Ritmo and Africa Show). As by previous posts (look it up), Conjunto Merengue had by then enlisted Zé Keno (Jovens do Prenda’s lead guitarist), Vate Costa (Kiezos’ singer), Gregório Mulato (the Águias Reais’ percussionist), João Morgado (Negoleiros do Ritmo’s drummer) and Zeca Tirilene.

I believe Paulo Flores covered this song in 2001.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to obtain any biographical information on Juju Tony. If you have any information please feel free to use the commentary box.

Se possui informações biográficas sobre Juju Tony por favor comente!

Sabú ‘Manuelé’ (CDA, 1975)

‘Manuelé’ speaks of a forbidden love and its just one of the many songs written by José Oliveira Fontes Pereira, composer, guitar player, dancer, choreographer and founder of the very first Semba School in 1960. His father was a concertina player, himself the founder of the Elite União Clube (1919-1951), based on the Vila Clotilde neighbourhood during colonial times, and his brother was Euclides Fontes Pereira, another celebrated songwriter and dikanza player of Ngola Ritmos. Oliveira went on to write a number of hits and in the early sixties joined the Ngongo Theatre Group.

As the liner notes of this 1975 CDA single explain, Sabú Guimarães was ‘baptized with an artist’s name upon birth. The obstetrician picked him up, looked at his parents and said: he doesn’t really look like any of you. To my mind he looks like Sabu!”. So Sabú it was, referring to Sabu Dastagir, immortalized as a child actor on popular films such as ‘Elephant Boy’, ‘The Thief of Bagdad’ or ‘The Jungle Book’. ‘Manuelé’ was probably Sabú’s biggest hit but he also recorded other popular songs (like ‘Mbiri Mbiri’ or ‘Eme Ngó’) and was a member of Os Cunhas. His discography is scarcely known but I presume he was active up until the late eighties. Only after the end of the Angolan Civil War did he return to the stage, performing alongside the Cape Verdean Tito Paris at Casa 70 in 2008. Now – and from some time – established as a restaurateur at the Kinaxixi neighbourhood he sometimes hosts singers from his generation.

The band performing on ‘Manuelé’ is top notch, pretty much the nucleus of Conjunto Merengue: Carlos Vieira Dias on bass and solo guitar, Zé Keno on second solo guitar, José Joaquim Costa on the rhythm guitar, Vate Costa on the dikanza and the extraordinary pairing of Gregório Mulato and João Lourenço Morgado on percussion. Don’t forget that, apart from being key members of Negoleiros do Ritmo, Jovens do Prenda, Águias Reais or Kiezos, this was – with some minor changes to it’s line-up – the band supporting the likes of José Agostinho, Avôzinho, Teta Lando, Carlos Lamartine, Carlos Burity, Urbano de Castro, Artur Nunes, Prado Paím, Tino Diá Kimuezo, Santocas, Joy Artur, Tanga, etc, etc, on many essential recordings.

‘Manuelé’ was released by CDA in 1975 with ref# NCS-2000. Covert art by Rochinha Diogo. Recorded at Estúdio Norte by João Canedo. Its b-side is the Sabú penned ‘Monami Ualo Kata’.


Conjunto Merengue ‘Rufo da Liberdade’ (CDA/Merengue, 1975)

I hope you don’t mind coming back to Conjunto Merengue (in what is actually a three-peat, as the band was also featured in Avôzinho’s post), but I couldn’t think of a better way to welcome 2013 than with one of the all-time tightest Angolan ensembles celebrating Angola’s independence with “Rufo da Liberdade” (a lovely, smooth and joyous instrumental which can be roughly translated as “Freedom’s Drum Roll”). What an appropriate treat for the New Year!

As you know, sitting in with dozens of singers as the house band for CDA’s Merengue label, Conjunto Merengue was indeed a staple of Angolan modern popular music and, led by Carlos Vieira Dias, never faltered on its purpose to excel. In 1975 alone the group was heard on such landmark albums as David Zé’s “Mutudi ua Ufolo”, Teta Lando’s “Independência” and Carlos Lamartine’s “Angola Ano I”.

“Rufo da Liberdade” (issued by Merengue with ref# MPA-4033-CD, with ‘Nica’ as a b-side) displays a tremendous line-up: Carlitos arranging and on bass guitar, Zeca Tirilene on rhythm guitar, Gregório Mulato on the bongo drum, Joãozinho Morgado on tumba, Vate Costa on dikanza (bigger than the Brazilian reco-reco or the Latin-American güiro but with similar effects), Nando on trumpet (channeling his inner Mangione) and, last but not least, Zé Keno on solo guitar.

Zé Keno is the author of both of this single’s tracks and had a significant impact on the band since leaving Os Jovens do Prenda. Born circa 1950 on the Malange province, Keno was of the most distinct guitar players on a scene saturated with talented up and coming musicians. His phrasing is masterful, with hints of jazzy inflections and those wonderful motivic improvisations probably heard on Dr. Nico’s African Fiesta records but also learned first-hand from the Gingas’ Duia, one of Angola’s greatest soloists.

Living on the Prenda neighborhood since moving to Luanda, Keno absorbed the richness of the local music clubs and witnessed the maturation of new urban styles. He tried his luck under the José Pequeno and Kedy monikers before joining Os Sembas in 1968. He had stints with Águias Reais and África Show, but his imprint was mostly left on Os Jovens do Prenda, alongside Gama, Didi, Augusto, Chico Montenegro, Kangongo and singer Tony do Fumo. Owner of a unique tuning system (self-taught), Keno created unexpected chord changes and dabbled with a pretty impressive harmonic concept. He joined the Merengues in 1973 and has become, since then, a living legend, to this day performing as a special guest on some of Jovens do Prenda’s shows.

[This post is dedicated to Muzikifan’s Alastair Johnston, telling it like it is on his invaluable site since 2004, author of the authoritative “A Discography of Docteur Nico” and, truly, keeping a valuable resource online for our reading and listening pleasure]

Conjunto Merengue ‘5 de Julho’ (CDA, Merengue, 1977)

Conjunto Merengue, as you may well know, was the house band of CDA’s Merengue imprint. As such the very much in demand band supported and included a who’s who of Angolan talent and it’ll obviously be featured in upcoming posts. So, pardon the brevity and stay tuned.

Released in 1977, “5 de Julho”, by Zé Keno, issued with “Choro de São Vicente” as a b-side with ref# MPA-4006, is a cheery, vaguely Caribbean and carnivalesque instrumental number with hints of mazurka dedicated to Cape Verde’s independence day. As usual, even while jumbling so many genres, the band is discreet, controlled and sounds almost conservative when you consider the talent involved. But Conjunto Merengue’s greatest skill was mastering a collective sound – inventive, imaginative, with flashes of virtuosity but never concerned with showing-off.

Led by Carlitos Vieira Dias (the son of Ngola Ritmos’s legendary founder Liceu Vieira Dias and formerly with Negoleiros do Ritmo and Africa Show), the band was then composed of Zé Keno (Jovens do Prenda’s lead guitarist), Vate Costa (Kiezos’ singer), Gregório Mulato (the Águias Reais’ percussionist), João Morgado (Negoleiros do Ritmo’s drummer), Damião (also on drums), Nando (trumpet), Tony (trombone), José Joaquim Júnior (rhythm guitar) and organist Weba.