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The music of Angola has been shaped both by wider musical trends and by the political history of the country. In the 20th century, Angola has been wracked by violence and political instability. Its musicians have been oppressed by government forces, both during the period of Portuguese colonization and after independence. Angolan music also influenced Lusophone music in Brazil and Cuban music.

The capital and largest city of Angola is Luanda, home to a diverse group of styles including Angolan merengue (based on Dominican merengue), kilapanda and semba, the last being a genre with roots intertwined with that of Brazilian samba music. Just off the coast of Luanda is Ilha do Cabo, home to an accordion and harmonica-based style of music called rebita.

Compared to many of its neighbors in Southern Africa, as well as other Portuguese colonies (especially Cape Verde), Angola's music has had little international success. The first group to become known outside of Angola was Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda, who were most popular from the late 1960s to the early 1970s, and have continued sporadically performing and recording since. The big band included two trumpets, a saxophone, four guitars and a half-dozen percussion instruments. They played kizomba (a native style based around the marimba xylophone), using the four guitars to approximate the sound of the marimba, and quilapanga.

Carlos Vieira Dias, an acoustic guitarist, is, however, the father of Angolan popular music. He introduced the ensembles of dikanza (scraper, ngomas (conga drums) and violas, which became popular in the 1950s in urban areas, where audiences liked the politicized messages and early nationalist thought. Dias was imprisoned by the Portuguese for many years.

In the years just before the civil war, the Luanda rock music scene sizzled. One member of a top band said that being in a band then was like being in a top football team; when his band walked into a club, all his supporters would cheer (and rival bands' groupies would hiss). [1]

Beginning in the 1970s, Bonga became the most well-known Angolan pop musician outside the country. He began performing in the early 1960s when Angolan folk music was finding some popularity. As a member of Kissueia, he addressed social problems while also becoming a soccer star. He was moved to Lisbon by the colonial government, and he there played soccer until 1972, when he left to protest Portugal's colonial war in Angola. He settled in Rotterdam, where he became closely associated with the Cape Verdean community. Bonga's "Mona Ki Ngi Xica" (1972) earned him an arrest warrant, and he began travelling between Germany, France and Belgium until Angola gained independence in 1975.

In the early 1980s, Angolan popular music was deeply influenced by Cuban music, especially in the work of André Mingas. Cuban Rumba was popular and influential across southern Africa, including Angola's neighbor Zaire, where it became the basis for soukous. In addition to the spread of recorded Cuban music, the presence of Cuban troops allied with the Marxist MPLA movement helped to popularize Cuban rhythms.

Lyrics of these songs are sung in Portuguese, which is spoken by most of Angolans (as first or second language, beside bantu languages).

Some other popular Angolan musicians include Teta Lando, Carlos Lamartine, Kituxi, Waldemar Bastos and Afra Sound Star.

For some time, a new, more electronic music movement, called kuduro, has blossomed in Angola.

See also

References

  • Hyde, Christian and Richard Trillo. "Struggle and Talent". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 428-431. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  • Moorman, Marissa "Intonations: A Social History of Music and Nation in Luanda, Angola, from 1945 to Recent Times" Ohio Univ Press 2008[2]
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