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continental drift 12/18/23 - angola

by Kirby Wilkerson



Howdy folks, welcome to Continental Drift! For this episode, I decided to do Angola because I am absolutely in love with the kinds of music there (also their flag is so cool! Have you seen it? It's amazing). The catch? This episode was written during winter break as I was getting ready to go visit family, and what's more, in the time I spent putting this episode together I couldn't find a wealth of good/consistent information about Angolan music, so I might not have as much to say about it as I'd like. With that out of the way, let's begin! For those of you listening back, you can find the playlist here and listen to the episode here!

The Republic of Angola is a southern African country; it's the 2nd largest Lusophone country and the 7th largest African country. It's bordered by Namibia to the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Zambia to the east, and its western coast meets the Atlantic. It also has an exclave that borders the Republic of the Congo. Its capital is Luanda, and the official language of Angola is Portuguese, but its national languages are Kimbundu, Umbundu, Chokwe, and Kikongo. With a population of around 36 million, it's the 41st most populous country.

Intro Track

Instrumental Angola45 // Various Artists

A lot of the music of Angola exists as a function of dance and its prominence in Angolan culture. The first thing you're gonna be hearing is actually a few tracks from Rebita, the first LP ever pressed and recorded in Angola. Rebita is additionally the name of a traditional Angolan dance and associated music genre, so that's comin' down the pipe!

Rebita Segment

N'Zo Iami // Os Kiezos

Merengue Rebita // Urbano de Castro

Memórias De Lamartine // Os Kiezos

The next music style we'll be looking at is semba; semba is etymologically related to the Brazilian genre samba, because both words are derived from the same term in Kimbundu. Though the music styles are distinct, Bonga, who is the first artist in this segment, definitely took influence from Brazilian music and is one of the biggest names in semba and Angolan music in general for popularizing semba worldwide. Bonga was a protest artist in his early career, and the song you're going to hear from him, Mona Ki Ngi Xica, as well as the other songs off the same album, Angola 72, contain lyrics that were seen as seditious by the Portuguese-controlled government, to the point that they had a warrant out for Bonga's arrest and he had to flee the country into Europe.

Semba Segment

Mona Ki Ngi Xica // Bonga

Ene // Carlos Lamartine

N'Zambi, N'Zambi // Carlos Lamartine

Moving on, we're gonna talk about kizomba! Kizomba is a type of dance music, sort of party music (and in fact kizomba means "party" in Kimbundu) characterized by more electronic elements, especially electronic percussion. It's kinda like semba but more electronic and faster. It's definitely the most recent of the genres we've explored to night. The end of this segment marks the end of the themed segments of the episode, but afterwards we do still have a few songs we can get through.

Kizomba Segment

Farinha Musseque // Banda Tons

Titiriti // Caló Pascoal

A Minha Vizinha // Eduardo Paim

Songs I Played Because I Had Way Too Much Time

Chofer de Praça // Luiz Visconde

Vira Moda // Bonga

Kaxexe // Bonga

Fuma // Dimba Diangola (this is the song that ignited my Angola fever!)