THE IMPOSTERS

A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!

 

Analog Africa No. 9

 


The Unique Sound of Luanda 1965 - 1976

 


Out Now on Analog Africa
 

CD with 44-page booklet (AACD 069) & 2xLP Gatefold deluxe (AALP 069)

UK Distribution by Proper (vinyl also distributed by F-Minor)

 

This essential collection from the golden era of Angolan music comes with the following, very appropriate warning: “Listening to these tracks may cause addiction and provoke heavy rotation.” For not only is this heady collection a pivotal piece of musical history, but it is also, an irresistibly infectious collection of dance floor fillers.

Angolan music circa 1965-1976 is unique to that time and place as it offers a blend of rhythms specific to that part of the world: Rebita, Kazukuta, Semba and Merengue, as well as more ‘traditional rhythms from Luanda’s islands, psychedelic guitar sounds from neighbouring Congo, Latin grooves, old school Caribbean merengue and the hard beat of Angolan carnival bands.’

The peppery Latino flavoured drumming of Mamukueno's “Rel do Palhetinho” opens this lively collection of Angolan gems with its leading singer, being answered, rather than just accompanied, by a bevy of vibrant backup vocalists who, it seems, smile and dance as they go. This track is so satisfying that you may wish it would never end and that's just the start! 

Fiery percussive underpinning also inhabits Os Kiezos on "Combolo", whose two male singers alternatingly respond to one another and chant in unison. Whatever they are saying sounds very persuasive and it is made even more so by one of it’s' singers way of lingering on a note and/or point. The song's instrumental break, with its' resonant guitar playing, echoes tropical climes and rhythms, encouraging you to sway along.

Simultaneously coy and strident is Jovens Do Prenda's "Ilha Virgem" with its' lilting guitar and subtle, but nonetheless savoury, punctuating drums, both hand and kit. A sophisticated '60's‘secret agent’ element comes into play mid-way through the track, mirroring the huge influx of ‘spy’ films and TV shows seeping into popular culture in the era. This is topped only by a Hendrix flavoured guitar lick near the end.

Ze Da Lua's "Ulungu Wami" is an energetic cha cha tinged number that is possibly more merengue than some of its fellows. Earnest vocals, insistently delivered, persuade dancing along from the outset as spangly percussives embroider on the seeming, truisms being sung.

Os Bongos' "OPachanga Maria" is a classic hip shaker, with drums keeping time and other elements succumbing to their intoxicating rhythms. A male singer weaves his whoops and phrasing in and out of the interlocking mix as an inspired, melodic guitarist leads.

A tinkley, speeded up cha-cha with a reverberating difference, in the guise of fantastically rhythmic guitar and equally alluring percussives comprises Dimba Diangola - "Tira Sapato". You can almost see the dancers whirling as the male singer, guitar and resounding rhythms call to them.

More stepped up still is Santos Junior on "N Gui Banza Mama" with 'talking' guitar and interplayed percussion moving round rhythmic vocals, solo and group. The intricateness of this deceptively simplistic track impresses nearly as much as its progressively pleasing patterns and riffs.

N' Gama Jazz's  "Mi Cantando Para Ti" is a' deeply dipping mix of heady tropical flavour and irresistible sway and strut inspiring layers of music and song. Its' infectious vocals make you want to sing, as much as dance along.

By the time I reached Ferreira Do Nascimento's different, yet equally hypnotic "Macongo Me Chiquita" it was difficult to believe we'd already heard nine tracks, as like its forerunners, this track's stand alone tendencies mark it out as an original worth savouring.  Its' clearly resonating guitar and fervent percussives like the track's compelling vocals, beguile.

Tastefully full on, yet vibrant is David Ze - "Uma Amiga" with its talk to me vocals, delivered in a matter of fact way, as though there could never be any doubt about the truth in what is being conveyed, with a shifting tapestry of savoury guitar and percussives as back up.

Jovens Do Prenda's sunnily percussive and guitar oriented instrumental track "Farra Na Madrugada" is very special, and slightly bittersweet in nature, perhaps like young love.

If there were no more tracks in this collection, it would already be a more than satisfying experience, but Os Korimbas - "Semba Braguez" instantly ignites feet and feelings in equal measure, with it's opening cries of what sounds like 'soca' after which its musicians launch into a multi-layered concoction of the intoxicating kind which you will be strongly inclined to twirl along to.

"Fuma" is Dimba Diangola's way of luring us onto a real or, impromptu dance floor, wherever we may be, trancing us into more or less non stop, moving mode. An urging singer lilts his way into our consciousness as persistent percussives and guitar lend allure.

Throw any semblance of caution to the wind as you indulge in Alliace Makiadi's "Passelo por Luanda", absorbing its pulsating blend of expressive guitar and slyly supportive percussives. As fleeting as winter sunshine and just as welcome, the vibes of this track are sure to thaw, as a male voice occasionally, but urgently cries, 'Come on,' while instruments wail.

Os Bongos return with ever more ardent rhythms on "Kazucuta", a largely instrumental guitar lead, percussively seasoned track on which repetitive male voices intermittently coax listeners into active response.

Drumming introduces, expertly played guitar speaks, and brassy horns glide over all on Quim Manuel O Espirito Santo's - "Eme Lelu" as an alluring male voice inspires expression.

A guitar style reminiscent of vintage US rock leads us into a decidedly wa-wa place while percussive, both beaten and shaken chime in, with potentially, hip-gyrating results.

Africa Show's winning blend of traditional and modern elements is very much in evidence on "Massanga Mama" with its' singer's plaintive, world-wise sounding vocals and at once laid back and knowing organ, guitar and percussive  accompaniment.

As is always the case with any of the superb Analog Africa releases, the rising popularity of today's austerity bandwagon is neatly sidestepped, with this, their ninth must have package boasting a comprehensive forty-four page booklet full of insightful information and many priceless photos.

My original desire to review Angola Soundtrack was derailed for some time due to lingering health problems, but now, having basked in its' warming soulfulness at last,  I can only conclude that it is sure to be  a potent tonic for whatever ails you.


 

 

Total playing time 69 minutes


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