Angolan 45s and more

Tag: N’Gola

Conjunto Ana N’gola “Puxa Odette” (N’gola, 1974)

I know of at least another couple of Ana N’gola – or Anangola – singles: “Catanga/Lamento do Monteiro” and “Deixa Ondas/Anangola”. But I was never able to gather much information on the band. I know it had ties with Pedro Franco – of Mini Bossa 70 fame – and that one of its members was Dulce Trindade. So maybe – seeing as Trindade plays in Angola 70 – Samy Ben Redjeb can shed some light on the subject? Vando and Fefé do Marçal (Alfredo Faustino) were others involved.

António Filipe’s “Puxa Odette” was issued by N’gola circa 1974, with ref# LD-157. Its b-side was Pedro Franco’s “Kidingo”.
Ana N’gola means sons of Angola in kimbundu.

Se possui informações sobre o Conjunto Ana N’gola por favor comente!

Quinteto Angolano “N’Tangua Leka Yé” (Ngola, 1969)

“N’Tangua Leka Yé”, a lullaby, was issued as a split 7″ by N’gola (the Angolan branch of Portuguese label Valentim de Carvalho) to mark the 24th World Sailing Championships – Snipe class – held in Luanda in 1969.  Its a-side was, appropriately, “Snipes”, by Dicanzas do Prenda. Now, Quinteto Angolano was, of course, the band that would ultimately become Ngoma Jazz – you can read about it on one my previous posts – led by songwriter and guitar player Matumona Sebastião. In fact, Ngoma Jazz – Sebastião, with Garcia Kipioca (voice, bells), Zé Manuel (lead voice), Caetano Lemos (percussion), Augusto Pedro (rhythm guitar), Ferreira Domingos (bass guitar) and Mangololo (percussion) – was formed in 1966 so this track was, in all likelihood, rescued from the archives.

Matumona Sebastião was born on May 28, 1937, in the northern Uíge province. In his teens his parents moved south, to Benguela, and he had some guitar lessons with Cape Verdean immigrants. He would credit this dispersion as one of the causes for Ngoma Jazz’s success – Mangololo was from Malanje, Lemos from Luanda, Manuel hailed from Sovo, Garcia a fellow Uígense. The band was instrumental in raising the capital city’s awareness of northern Angolan rhythms. From 1967 on Ngoma Jazz would release tracks such as “Sá Madia”, “Ua Diami”, “Ngongo Jami”, “Ngolo Banza Kamba Diami Didinho”, “Madi Ndumba Mbote”, “Yá Mbanza Riqueta”, “Nzolua”, “Lola”, the big hit “Belita Kiri Kiri”, “Kubata diá Mwangana”, “Merengue Madrugada”, “Kento-Ame”, “Mukonda Dia Kubanza”, “Segula”, etc.

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.

If you have information about Os Cinzas please comment!

Se possui informações sobre o Conjunto Os Cinzas por favor entre em contacto!

Os Kiezos ‘Semba Popular’ (Ngola, 1972)

A tremendous vehicle for lead guitarist Mário ‘Marito’ Arcanjo – a student of legendary Duia, of Os Gingas fame, and note-by-note copyist of Franco in his formative years – “Semba Popular” is one of those unforgettable dance tracks from Os Kiezos. The band – formed on the Marçal neighborhood when Kituxe (Domingos António Miguel da Silva) enlisted Tininho, Adolfo Coelho (the dikanza great who died in 2002) and Marito – was baptized in 1965 after a particularly blazing open-air party in which the stage action was so frantic that an enormous cloud of dust arose beneath the feet of the dancers, making everyone, in jest, cry out for brooms (iezos, in Kimbundu).

Kiezos had their first big show in Luanda’s Ngola Cine in 1969 and debuted on the studio a year later. Vate Costa (1949-2010) and Fausto Lemos joined the ranks and gave voice to huge hits, such as “Za boba”, “Ché-ché mãe”, “Muá Pangu”, “Ku Xingue Ngamba”, “Milhorró” or “Ngana Zambi”, some of a satirical nature, making the band a target for the Portuguese political police just before the independence. [see below another Kiezos post].

“Semba Popular” (issued by Ngola circa 1972 with reference number LD 330) was the b-side for “Lamento de Mingo” – a song dedicated to Mingo, Jovens do Prenda’s and sometime Kiezo’s guitar player, who had just died on a car wreck – and had the following credits:

Solo guitar: Marito
Second guitar: Boto Trindade
Rhythm guitar: Gino
Bass: Zeca
Reco-Reco (or güiro): Adolfo Coelho
Bongos: Juventino
Drums: Julinho
Voice (for the a-side): Antoninho

Os Kiezos ‘Memória de Guy’ (N’Gola, 1976)

Just this summer Os Kiezos were back on the limelight with news of a pioneering contract with Fundação Sol, the cultural institution associated with Angola’s powerful Sol bank, itself an organization with close ties to the ruling MPLA party: on it, it was agreed that an undisclosed amount was to be transferred on a monthly basis to the band leader’s account in order to assure the band’s continuity and to improve its members’ living conditions. It was said that it “represented a firm commitment with a band that played an important role in assuring Angola’s national unity and cultural identity”.

And in no other single on the troubled post-independence days were the Kiezos so politically outspoken as in “Benguela Libertada/Memória de Guy”, released in 1976 to celebrate the defeat and retreat of the South-African army storming the country backing Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA. The artwork itself is a close-up photo of a pro-MPLA rally in Luanda highlighting a banner that reads: “Traitor Savimbe (sic). Ah… For how much did you sell Angola, our homeland.”! Don’t forget that MPLA’s Agostinho Neto had proclaimed Angola’s independence on November 11th, 1975, just after a significant victory of his military wing (FAPLA, aided by Cuban forces) over advancing FNLA and UNITA troops supported by Zairian and South-African regiments.

The particular twist on this tale is that the title track is composed and performed by Os Bongos’ Boto Trindade, then based on Luanda as a refugee (he and his band were from Lobito, a town in the Benguela province) and throughout the year performing with Os Kiezos in support of engaged singers such as David Zé, Urbano de Castro and Artur Nunes (sometimes entertaining MPLA’s troops as the FAPLA-Povo act).

It was precisely this sort of connection that Analog Africa’s musically excellent “Angola Soundtrack: The Unique Sound of Luanda 1968-1976” compilation missed out on, therefore not really conveying how dynamic and interchanging the band’s line-ups of the period were and how its production was affected by political constraints. And, while I’m at it, you would never know from hearing that (and like-minded) compilation and reading its liner notes just how rich a rock scene Angola had in the sixties, with bands like Brucutus, The Five Kings, The Black Stars, Os Rocks, Os Electrónicos, Os Jovens or Apollo XI. This is not a criticism but a reminder of how much work there is to be done!

But anyway, I’m digressing. I’ve already featured Os Kiezos on the Minguito and Pedrito posts and will undoubtedly return to such a crucial band with further biographical and chronological information. The above b-side was issued by N’Gola with ref# LD 331. The line-up:
Solo guitars: Marito and Boto; rhythm guitar: Gino; bass: Zeca; percussion: Julinho, Juventino, Antoninho and Adolfo Coelho.

One final note: some online chronicles by contemporaries of this release refer to “Memória de Guy” as a slow semba-rumba and to “Benguela Libertada” (which translates as “Liberated Benguela”) as, expectedly, a celebratory and joyous number. And yet, listening to the single you get the opposite impression. I have no idea if there was a labeling and printing mistake but it does seem more honest, in light of the subject matter, to share the more upbeat track.

Cabinda Ritmo ‘Filomena’ (N’Gola, early 1970’s)

Cabinda, once parte of a larger territory known as the Portuguese Congo, is a northern Angolan exclave on the Atlantic shores neighboring western D.R. Congo and southern Republic of the Congo. To this day there are those who speak of a distinct Cabindan cultural sensibility and separatist rhetoric is common. Merged with Angola in the 1950s by administrative facility under Portuguese rule, the territory was carelessly granted independence as an Angolan province on the 1974-1975 decolonization rush.

But the burgeoning late-sixties to mid-seventies local music scene is rightly romanticized. Bands like Cabinda Ritmo (or Ritmos, as sometimes spelled), Super Coba, Ngoma Jazz, Super Renovação, Super Landa Bango, Super R3 and Bela Negra were indeed producing something rather distant from its Luanda counterparts – mellifluous, eloquent, emotionally engaging and fundamentally different.

Cabinda Ritmo’s lyrics were sung in Lingala or Kikongo and its delivery is close to that of Congo archetypal singers like Tabu Ley Rochereau. But it’s the refined treatment of the rhythmic and harmonic properties of Angolan popular music of the period that do set the band apart. Thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating, songs like “Celestina”, “Chika”, “Rosa”, “Nazeli Mingi” and “Merengue Tira Frio” are a testament to Cabinda Ritmo’s technical prowess and flamboyance.

Issued by N’gola with ref# LD–100 Adriano Mueno’s “Filomena” is a fluid and sophisticated rumba (“Celestina” was the A-side). The delay and reverb drenched callings introduce a couple of guitar flourished melodies that are just slightly angular and follow each other with mathematical precision. It’s a sustained and teasing effort channeling Franco and Nico’s hypnotic abilities. Slowly, the expressive ostinato motif moves to the percussion and you sense an impending rhythmic shift that gets deliberately delayed until you’re already half through it. You were waiting for it but never saw it coming. The beat irregularity on such a stable track is audacious and part of the band’s essential impetus.

These strategies paid off as Luanda was mesmerized with Cabinda Ritmo. An often repeated anecdote has the Kiezos deceiving a PIDE (Portugal’s International and State Defence Police) interrogation in 1972 by stating that the “go away, this can’t be, this has to improve” chants of the “Milhorro” song were not directed to the colonial powers but to Cabinda Ritmo, the out-of-towners that were “stealing all their girlfriends and audience”. The PIDE officials, so aware of the Cabindan band reputation, believed what they were told.

Unfortunately not a lot is known about Cabinda Ritmo’s members. As usual, if you have any information about the band please feel free to use the commentary box.

Se possui mais informações sobre os Cabinda Ritmo por favor comente!

N’Goma Jazz ‘N’Gongo Ia Kuvuala Ò Mona Diala’ (N’Gola, 1974)

Issued in 1974 by N’Gola with reference number LD-167, Joaquim Pedro Manuel’s “N’Gongo ia Kuvuala ò Mona Diala” is an infectious semba-rumba. While uniquely Angolan it denotes the influence of D.R. Congo’s Franco and Dr. Nico. Arriving from the north in the late sixties, N’Goma Jazz – like Cabinda Ritmos, Super Renovação de Cabinda, Super Coba de Cabinda or Super Landa Bangó – took the Luanda music scene by storm and was soon supporting the likes of Zé Viola, Lourdes Van Dunen, Urbano de Castro, Maria Andreaça, Pedrito or Nito Nunes.

The band, formed in 1964 by core members Garcia Kipioca (voice and percussion), Zé Manuel (lead singer) and Petengué (congas), was firstly named Ritmo Jazz, then Quinteto Angolano and, finally, in 1966, Ngoma Jazz. But it was electric guitar player Matumona Sebastião that accorded the group its most distinct sound. Other members were Caetano Lemos (percussion), Augusto Pedro (rhythm guitar), Ferreira Domingos (bass) and Mangololo (percussion). Worthwhile tracks – marked by a tremendous cultural sensibility – include “Sá Madia”, “Ua Diami”, “Ngongo Jami”, “Ngolo Banza Kamba Diami”, “Madi Ndumba Mbote”, “Yá Mbanza Riqueta”, “Nzolua”, “Belita Kiri Kiri”, “Kubata diá Mwangana” and the B-Side of the present single, “Lola”, which mimics Congo bands with its Latin tinge.

Conjunto Dicanzas do Prenda ‘N’Zambi N’Guitalelle’ (N’Gola, 1968-69)

This is the b-side of Conjunto Dicanzas do Prenda’s 1968-69 single “Brinca na Areia”/”N’Zambi N’Guitalelle”. It is usually referred to as N’Gola’s (the Angolan branch of Portuguese label Valentim de Carvalho based in Luanda) first release, issued with reference number NGA100, probably recorded in 1968. “N’zambi N’Guitalelle”, by Faustino Augusto, is propelled by a distinct Angolan ceremonial rhythm but, as it was de rigueur in those days, the overall setting is closer to Afro-Cuban forms. The percussion and guitar interplay is particularly striking.

Little is known, other then its music, about Dicanzas do Prenda (or Dikanzas). It seems obvious that they were based on Luanda’s Prenda neighbourhood, home of Jovens do Prenda and several other bands. One of its members was Augusto Chakaya.

If you have more information about the band please feel free to use the commentary box.

Se possui mais informações sobre os Dicanzas do Prenda por favor comente.

UPDATED ON FEBRUARY, 12, 2014, AS PER COMMENT: “Dicanzas – or dicansas – do Prenda was a sixties group led by José Antonio Candido, its founder and main singer. ‘Brinca na areia’ was just one of his songs, alongside ‘Rosa quibanguele’ or ‘menina não vamos a baia hoje’, songs that he declared on the SPA-Portuguese Authors Society and that received airplay on RNA”