Tag: Lusophone

Martinho da Vila, “Lusofonia” (2000)

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)”.

Batida Spring 2K18

Batida Mix Spring 2k18
– mix created on iPhone 6s –
“Space” DJ BBoy @dj-b-bo
“Improooooo” Puto Márcio @putoo-m-rcioo
“Nichako” DJ Lycox @djlycox
“2855” DJ Lycox
“Sistema” K30 @joel-correia-930570134
“Trança do Lycox” Adam do Gueto @adamproducerbeats
Adam do Gueto
“Somos Todos Malucos” DJ Firmeza @dj-firmeza
“Grandes Invejosos” DJ Nedwyt Fox @nedwytfox-helde
“Estação de Queluz” P. ADRIX @adrixoff
“Zelda Shyt” P. ADRIX
“Sonhos” P. ADRIX

Lisbon’s Underground

Principe Discos

Cargaa 2 EP

Nidia Minaj Danger Album

DJ Nigga Fox Noite e Dia

Underground Lisbon has been crafting a sound completely its own for the past 10 years. Producers call it “batida do gueto” or “beat from the ghetto”, and it has roots in the fast tempo kuduro from Angola (from where many Afro-Portuguese are descended), kizomba, tarraxinha, and funaná from Cape Verde, as well as having hip-hop and trap influences. Once I heard it, I concluded it occupies its own genre beyond existing classifications.

Chal Ravens puts the sound in a wider societal context, writing that the visibility of musicians like Nigga Fox outside the ghettos “feels like a statement” given the geographic segregation of Lisbon, where the black African population has been pushed to less accessible suburbs, and Portuguese laws limit migrants’ rights (see Ravens’ well-written article on Principe Discos for UK publication The Wire).

Nidia Minaj, Black$ea Não Maya, DJ Marfox, DJ Ly-COox, DJ Nedwyt Fox, Puto Anderson and Deejay NinOo, just to name a few, are some of the artists killing it right now with their “frenetic and raw sound,” some of whom are quoted in Ravens’ piece. Lisbon’s Príncipe Discos record label has been releasing music of these and many other artists based in Lisbon creating batida. The UK’s Warp Records has also released 2 EP’s featuring batida artists, Cargaa 1 and Cargaa 2.

All the artwork for Príncipe releases (some pictured at the top of this post) are individually hand stenciled and painted by Márcio Matos.

So here are just a few tracks that I’ve had on repeat and been sharing with a few music confidantes. Though classified as  “Electronic” by iTunes, don’t be fooled, these tracks are full of groove and will without a doubt keep you on the dance floor. I love that they use futuristic sounds totally absent in mainstream commercial U.S. pop and even more commercial African music. Add this to the polyrhythms they create, and you get an earful of body shaking music that sounds like its from another world, maybe one in the future or one in the past.

These artists talk through electronic software instruments like the ancestors spoke through acoustic drums. I love hearing how each artist plays with so many different rhythms to find new grooves and new ways to speak through electro percussion on every track. It’s like the roots are completely intact, just vibrating through a different apparatus while simultaneously creating something new.

“Grandes Invejosos” by DJ Nedwyt Fox (Cargaa 1 EP, Warp Records):

“Lumi” by DJ Nigga Fox (Cargaa 1 EP, Warp Records):

I’m a big fan of 18 year old Nidia Minaj.

DJ and Producer Nidia Minaj

A few reasons why. “Mambos Fudiz” and “Sentimentos” on her Danger album: 

And all this is barely scratching the surface of what these artists have to offer.

Continuing our internet foray into contemporary Lusophone* (Portuguese-speaking) culture, we meet with Alexandre Francisco Diaphra. Portuguese poet and artist of Angolan and Guinean parentage, he released multimedia project, Diaphra’s Blackbook of the Beats on July 6, 2015.

Poet and multimedia artist, Alexandre Francisco Diaphra

  The project is “part beat tape, part poetry and part post-colonialist discourse“(see Laurent Fintoni’s Bandcamp blog post on Diaphra, “Beats, Rhymes and Identity” for more about it).

Interesting to note that Diaphra made new connections in his formerly fragmented identity while in Brazil.

Don’t be surprised if next time you see me it’s in Lisbon getting down with all these cats.

Stay tuned for another post on this Lusophone theme when I look at legendary Carioca samba composer, musician, and singer Martinho da Vila and his album, Lusofonia.

*Lusophone countries: Where the Portuguese language is spoken. Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, Portugal, and São Tome and Principe. (from http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/Lusophone-Countries.html)