Meticulously crafted selections from scattered, hard to find records, obsessively collected over the years. Some of these mixes have taken years to make, simply because one of the pieces needed to complete the puzzle took more effort to be traced down.
O MERE BAM BAM – Hindoestani Disco Gems 1979 – 1988
All songs taken from original vinyl records.
SENTE OS SYNTES (FEEL THE SYNTHS) – The birth of the Modern PALOP Sound, 1988 – 1992
The end of the 80’s was a period of drastic changes worldwide. Massive advances in technology, political and economic instability, the falling of the Berlin wall, etc. In Portugal these changes were felt even more dramatically. A country that had just turned the page from a long fascist dictatorship and the imminent collapse of their colonial domination in Africa was finally starting to stand up for itself, after joining the European Union in 1986. Spectacular economic growth followed, dramatically improving all social indicators from that moment on.
African immigrants from former colonies constituted a significant part of Lisbon’s population. They provided much of the labour muscle needed for the recent economic ascension and from their marginalized position in portuguese society, managed to develop a fully independent musical network of artists and record labels with their own distribution.
The arrival of cassettes made the whole process significantly cheaper, lowering the entry bar for least experienced artists and while doing so, inciting experimentation and the resurgence of the first home studios in the outskirts of the city, where the immigrants lived.
In this context, the youngest generation of local african artists started adopting the new digital technologies of drum programming and more complex synthesis on keyboards, heavily influenced by the Zouk sound championed by the caribbean band Kassav, and their many replicas.
Without realizing it, they were writing the new chapter of PALOP (Portuguese Speaking African Countries) music, creating what would later be called Kizomba and Cabo-Zouk. Genres that would later derive in multiple others (Kuduro being the most famous contemporary offspring) and would spread and get replicated. The first places to adopt these new sounds were the other diaspora centres in Europe: Paris, Rotterdam, Luxembourg. Later, these recordings would make it all the way back to Africa.
In the particular case of Angola, after the excesses of the Independence revolution and the horrors of the subsequent civil war left their previously vibrant music scene completely shattered, the arrival of these new sounds marked the resurrection of that scene, giving Angolans a much needed sense of hope after so many years of suffering.
NELO BASTOS – Garina da Banda
JUSTINO DELGADO – Prima Joli
RUCA VAN DUNEM & RICARDO ABREU – Garina
DUALY JAIR – Ngolê
DRAGÕES – Scutam Cabverd
EDUARDO PAIM – Nagibo
MANU & DRAGÕES – Leninha
TINO FORTES – Galinha do Vizinho
RUCA VAN DUNEM & RICARDO ABREU – Sem Nome
EDUARDO PAIM – Kizomba
VITORINO 12 – Menina
RUCA VAN DUNEM & RICARDO ABREU – Dum Coro (manhã de domingo parte 2)
MANU & DRAGÕES – Leninha
All songs taken from original vinyl records and tapes.
BRASIL PROFUNDO: Deep echoes of an African ancestry, 1958 – 1978
Being one of the most diverse and mixed countries in the globe, Brazil has developed an impressive array of musical styles that blend traditions of American, European and African origin in different proportions and configurations. This mix focuses on the influence of African culture in Brazil’s own folklore and its further proliferation onto the most sophisticated spheres of their musical institutions.
These songs showcase beautifully arranged orchestrated, stripped down ensembles and full-on massive percussion “blocos”. They have the capacity to make you cry and feel an urgent will to celebrate life at the same time.
PEPETE – Maracá
ONIAS COMENDA – É tava lá em casa
GUERRA PEIXE – Eh Luanda
ORQUESTRA E COROS OS SERTANEJOS – Maracatuca
SEVERINO ARAUJO E SUA ORQUESTRA TABAJARA – Capoeira na Pituba
PAULO ROBERTO – Casca de Coco
IMPÉRIO SERRANO – Lamento de um sertanejo
JOSE PRATES – Nega Sefinha
FRANCISCO EGÍDIO – Funeral d’um rei nago
CACHIMBINHO E GERALDO MOUZINHO – A vida é um livro aberto e o mundo é um professor
AFOXÉ FILHOS DE GANDHI – Cantico para Exu
BROTO DO ROJAO – o filho de yemanjá
VEREQUETE E SEU CONJUNTO UIRAPURU – Xote Paraense
BANDINHA DE PIFANO DO CARUARÚ – Caruarú Caruará
VIEIRA E SEU CONJUNTO – Melô da Cachorrinha
EDMILSON – Minha Nega e a Capoeira
FRANCISCO EGÍDIO – Hey zambi.
PUERTO RICAN ROOTS OF SALSA – Bomba, Plena, Jíbaro & Aguinaldo 1960-1987
Salsa, the most disseminated Latin music genre ever, was born in the rough streets of 1970’s New York. Through all these years, many pages have been written about the particular factors that shaped that movement. The mixture of several rhythms from the caribbean, brought to the big apple by latin immigrants since the 40’s, was perhaps the most crucial.
Within this context, Puerto Ricans ended up playing a predominant role since the very beginning, as their presence in the North American city was more significant in numbers than any other nationality. When the genre was getting firmly established in the mid 70’s, many of the most intrepid musicians in the scene who happened to be Puerto Rican (Willie Colón, Richie Ray or Eddie Palmieri, to name but a few) took the opportunity to incorporate the traditional styles of their own island into the complex blend, where ancient Cuban rhythms like Son or Rumba were the main ingredient.
That’s how Plena interludes, Bomba breaks and full-on takes of Jibaro classics became a common component in many Fania, Alegre or Cotique releases of the era.
The Puerto Rican styles presented in this mix are the result of centuries of syncretism in the Caribbean Island. They will surely seem familiar to those who have been exposed to the sounds of Salsa’s golden period.
FEBRI DI FUNANÁ VOL 2 – Cabo Verde Recordings 1980-1988
Another volume dedicated to the golden period of contemporary Cape Verdian music of the diaspora, when a young generation of musicians spread across the cities of Rotterdam, Lisbon, Paris and Boston revisited the (until then) neglected rural musical roots of their land and by doing so, set a new standard of how Cape Verdian would sound like for the next generations.
This second rendition is focused on tracks that rely heavily on the synthesizer, an immensely popular instrument at that time, that the young generation of pioneers would end up using in an unprecedented way, creating a metaphor for what Funaná would end up representing: a harmonious blend of past and future, rural and urban.
FEBRI DI FUNANÁ – Cabo Verde Recordings 1977-1985
Up until the mid 70’s music in Cabo Verde was all about Mornas, Coladeras and peculiar takes on the most well known Latin Styles (Cha Cha Cha, Cumbia, Guaracha, etc), with the occasional Soul and Funk incursion, like in most African lands. In the mid 70’s everything changed when a former Agronomy student decided it was time for a new approach.
Katchás – as he became known – formed first the band BRODA and after, the bound to become legendary BULIMUNDO, and decided to dig deep into the ancient rural roots of the formerly forbidden rhythms of the islands (by the Portuguese Colonial Rule) such as Batuco and Funaná, playing them with a full band electrified setting, and by doing so, giving birth to a whole new chapter in the already rich Cape Verdean musical landscape. A group of equally adventurous and talented young musicians with a renewed sense of pride, spread across the cities of Lisbon, Paris and Rotterdam followed the path. With the help of the synthesizers, guitar pedals and all kinds of studio effects, they shaped the new musical identity of the young Cape Verdean diaspora.
ATABAQUE & AGOGO – Afro Brazilian Religious Music 1973 – 1988
Candomblé and Umbanda are the two most popular African-rooted religions in today’s Brazil. Similar to the Hispanic Santería, they are the result of a unique blend of beliefs, languages, peoples and traditions that met in that vast area of South America that we now call Brazil.
Being labelled as “witchcraft” by the Portuguese colonizers, all local or traditionally african religious practices were soon forbidden and fiercely punished.
African religious entities (Orixás) were only worshipped by disguise, under the Catholic saints (a practice called syncretism).
After centuries of severe repression, the original african religions would eventually gain new, fully brazilian traces. With the advent of modernity, these Afro Brazilian religious practices expanded all across the country and became a fascinating object of anthropological and cultural study.
Despite the prejudice (the Catholic majority of the population still looking at it as evil and obscure tribal rituals), many musicians would become active practitioners and soon, the sacred rhythms heard in the Terreiros (where the cerimonies take place), were being played in the most various settings and places. The instruments used and the particular interpretations of the ancient African rhythms, associated to the particular regions where these took place, would result in unique mutations. This is how the Forró, Coco or Xôte genres were born in the North-East and how Samba flourished further South in Rio de Janeiro.
The songs contained in this mix are from a period when Candomblé and Umbanda were no longer something to hide. The sense of pride transmitted on the work of well respected artists such as Vinicius de Moraes, Gilberto Gil or Jorge Ben (to name but a few) would result in an interest from some of the biggest labels in the country, to release albums containing strictly traditional Afro Brazilian music. The commercial frenzy soon turned a fiasco (the music not being sophisticated enough for a market used to pompous orchestral arrangements and endless progressions of complicated guitar chords) and smaller local labels, exclusively devoted to Candomblé and Umbanda, eventually surfaced (Caritas and Universal Comercial Fonografica being the most prolific), documenting the music in a dedicated, almost militant way.
All the songs in this mix come from recordings released in these independent labels. The unparalleled energy, devotion and depth they showcase, is nothing less of transcendental. A level humans can only reach when seeking for the divine, regardless of the shape or name given.
TAMBOR! Afro Venezuelan Recordings 1978 – 1986
The heavy sound of the African heritage in Venezuela. Rhythms and Percussion instruments brought from West Africa by the time of the slave trade that remained unexposed until the late 70’s, when the band Un Solo Pueblo took the Venezuelan airwaves by storm.
Armed with a traditional repertoire they had compiled themselves, after traveling extensively for years in the most remote areas of the country, learning songs directly from people who had successively learnt them from their ancestors. A process that went back to the arrival of the first slaves, in the early 16th century. Employing unique drums like the Cumaco, Mina, Culo ‘e Puya, Paila or the Quitiplás, the polyrhythmic structure of rhythms such as Golpe (with each town having its own particular variation), Sangueo or Fulía can be heard on this mix. A compiling effort of some of the most interesting recordings, featuring Afro Venezuelan music exclusively, that began to surface in Venezuela back in the day.