We have grown familiar with the sensation of biting into unexpected musical delicacies. Even so, this trip caught us off guard. The richness of musical experiments being cooked up in Angola throughout the 60s and 70s, as the south-western African country was wriggling its way towards independence, was a bittersweet beauty to behold. With hundreds of years of Portuguese influence, and groovin’ musical neighbors like Zaire (now the D.R. Congo) setting powerful precedents, Angolan musicians were ripe to develop their own hotpot of dance styles. Though very few Angolan musicians achieved recognition outside the country, the local scene thrived and supported its own artists.
Our feature on Angolan music is slanted heavily towards this time period, when garage rock, semba (a cousin of Brazilian samba), kizomba (upbeat marimba big band), and a myriad of other styles were helping to articulate the struggle for freedom, and create a sense of hope for the people. The years between 1975-2002 were plagued by civil war, and the music industry suffered as many artists were killed or forced to leave the country. But Angola is now home to one of Africa’s most dynamic hip hop scenes, as well as a style of frenetic electronic music known as kuduro that has taken the lusophone world by tropical storm.
Also on the show: Evan Catalano, a blue-haired punk rocker from Nelson-based band Thus Far, who discusses and debuts songs from the band’s new EP… recorded last week!