“Music was our contribution to independence.” Carlos Lamartine
This simple but bold statement captures the thoughts of many musicians across Lusophone Africa. With independence from Portugal gained late, as late as 1975, music was a platform for social and political protest. “Some picked up more conventional weapons, [but] we used music to spread our message faster”, Lamartine continues.
In Angola, despite independence, the fight for liberation was still on. Years of civil war set the country back, while the songs of cyclical struggle were contained by Portuguese speaking circles and the diaspora. Thankfully, Angola – the largest population and economy of Luso-Africa – is now at peace and her music has broken free.
In research we leaned heavily on Marissa J. Moorman’s superb book, ‘Intonations’, a must read for African music lovers. It narrates the social history of music in Luanda, Angola, as the country literally transitions into nation. In homage, our selection features classics that we think capture angolanidade – or Angolanness – blended with tracks from Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé & Príncipe and Brazil. We hope you enjoy.