Conjunto Os Cinzas ‘Kabetula Vencedor’ (N’Gola)

Although it is unclear to me whether this was intentional, ‘Kabetula Vencedor’ can be translated as ‘a winning kabetula’, referring to the popular rhythm and dance of the Bengo that some consider to be an ancestor of the Brazilian martial art capoeira. In kimbundo, “ku betula” means “to get up”, and, as a choreography, is still a fixture of present-day Angolan carnival. Traditionally, it featured a frantic percussion element – here transferred to the rhythm guitar – repeated on a washboard. But it was all about acrobatic displays and the ceremonial umbigada, characterized by the thrusting movements of each dancer’s navel area against another’s. Conjunto Os Cinzas, fluent on kabetula, semba, merengue, etc, really goes for it and sometimes you feel they’re getting a bit ahead of themselves. The infectious call and response patterns and, of course, the solo guitar, twangy and suggestive of Congolese rumba, make for a pretty persuasive track. Unfortunately not a lot is known about the band’s discography, membership and constituency. ‘Kabetula Vencedor’ was issued by N’Gola (date unknown) with ref# LD 316.

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