Martinho da Vila, “Lusofonia” (2000)

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I’ve been meaning to post about this album for the longest. I was introduced to it around 2007 and it became a fast favorite, introducing me to rhythms, history, artists, and lands of the “Lusophone” world. Cabo Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola, Guinea Bissau. Maybe it can be called a fusion album — samba and  lots of pandeiro but with lilting bass lines, cheerful horn arrangements and guitar riffs that are undoubtedly African. It felt like traveling without moving. It may have been the first time I heard different Portuguese language accents besides Brazilian in song. I was already a fan of beloved living samba legend Martinho da Vila, and this album made me appreciate his oeuvre even more.

 

I’m tempted to skip ballad “Vasco da Gama” (ft. Mart’nalia) and slow march/marchinha “Viva Timor Leste” (ft. Luis Represas), which recount significant histories pertaining to the Portuguese empire. One covers exploration/conquest, the other revolution, so I guess I appreciate the balance there. Taking the album as a whole I can dig that those songs were included for their slower tempos and rounding out the variety of rhythms. Besides, I’d rather learn history via song than read it, and I always appreciate a larger historical context for the music I enjoy.

Favorite track: “Carambola (São Tomé e Príncipe)”.