Spring is coming eventually, may as well get warmed up! London duo The Busy Twist’s dancefloor remixes of 1960’s and 70’s folk music from Luanda, culled from the Analog Africa catalog. I don’t know how this spring and summer are going to pan out, but this would definitely be a vibe at a post-pandemic outdoor party somewhere in Brooklyn, no? 😉
This feels like a good follow-up to the Lusofonia post. Pedro Lima was the “people’s voice of São Tomé e Príncipe”, the most iconic singer on the island. This release was originally recorded in 1985 and is a reissue from the Switzerland-based Bongo Joe (Les Disques Bongo Joe) label. The album has been hard to find, commanding high prices. It features Lima with his backing band of 20 years, Os Leonenses, on 2 Puxas (upbeat) and 2 Rumbas (mellow), all nearly 10 minutes long. Lima passed in 2019, after a long career that started in his teenage years and spanned up until his death. If you’re a vinyl person, there are still some copies available via Bandcamp as of this writing. Probably worth picking up!
I realized some people may be coming to this site from Discogs….I’m not so sure you’re interested in the new music and artists I’ve posted about lately, I figure you’re into Brazilian funk from the 1960’s and 1970’s…I love that stuff, don’t get me wrong. But I’m restless by nature and there’s so much good music to explore throughout the “Brazilian Diaspora” and Lusophone world, that I can’t just focus on that genre and time in this blog.
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)”.
I just realized my recent posts all have Cabo Verde in common…hmmm!
Horace Silver’s dad was Cape Verdean, and the melody for his well-known “Song for My Father,” was inspired by Cape Verdean folk music. This live performance by the quintet in Copenhagen in 1968 is beautiful — Horace Silver dripping sweat onto the piano keys, the musicians’ masterful solos, the drummer in the pocket expressing pure joy and reaching freedom within the song, and everyone’s perfect chemistry. It’s around 18 minutes long and absolutely worth the watch.
New single from Cape Verdean-Portuguese artist Nenny. The 18 year-old singer, songwriter, and rapper is making big waves and enjoying success and critical acclaim in Portugal since 2019, following the release of various singles including “Dona Maria” (about her mother) and “Bússola” (a catchy and literal f*ck you to general haters set to a mellow and infectious afrobeats track), and major festival performances there. A proponent of mental health and self-love, Nenny refuses to be boxed in by genre and categories, singing and rapping genuinely and unabashedly about personal experiences, and embracing trap, reggae and afro rhythms in her music. It looks like Nenny is about to win over more of the world with her Colors performance. If you read Portuguese, check out this March 2020 interview. If you understand Portuguese from Portugal, this interview is worth a watch.