February 10, 2012

Bonga | Hora Kota

ARTIST:  Bonga
TITLE:  Hora Kota
LABEL:  Lusafrica
REVIEW:  Bonga Kwenda is the most famous voice in Angolan music.  His classic album Angola 72, recorded in exile, is widely regarded as the soundtrack of the Angolan independence movement. Since then, he’s carved out a successful career popularizing Angolan semba with his countrymen, with other Lusophones, and gradually over the years reaching a global, non-Portuguese-speaking audience.  This is his 30th album, and by this time his sound is firmly in place –- mellow, jaunty and acoustic-guitar driven, reminiscent of Brazilian samba (the influences between Brazil and Angola run in both directions), with Bonga’s characteristically raspy vocals on top.  It’s a beautiful sound, both on slower material like the title track (track 2) and at brisker tempos (tracks 3, 8 and 9).  Track 13 is a bonus –- a duet with French singer Bertrand Lavilliers that adds just a whiff of 21st century production to the mix.  Excellent stuff from a man who’d be a first-ballot member of the world music museum, if there were such a thing.
TOP TRACKS:    2    3    8    9    13
ALSO RECOMMENDED:    4    5    6    7    11

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