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.