Festivale de Football Day 1: Angola

Dear Reader, I am happy to inform you that, in theory, Betty is back up and running on a regular basis now, and to celebrate, we're kicking off with Day 1 of a feast of football-related fun and frolics. From this day hence (and hopefully culminating around the time of the final), we'll be looking at music from each of the different countries participating. This will be as much an education for me as for you - I'm not really a pro on that beast known as World Music, so any recommendations will certainly be taken on board.

So day one, Angola. What a place to start, you may say - one of the more obscure participants in the cup, not only featuring no-one you’ve heard of but also no-one you’ve heard of that plays for Hull City. Well yes, but it's alphabetical, and who doesn't love being pedantic about this sort of thing? Angola is a tricky one though. I had literally no prior knowledge of the country's music, and only a little more of the country itself. Civil war-torn ex-Portuguese colony was about the limit. And yet that tells a surprisingly large amount about the music: according to wikipedia (although it's almost certainly true of every country), "the music of Angola has been shaped both by wider musical trends and by the political history of the country." Well, sorry, but duh. If you want to know why most of the music is sung in Portuguese, that's why; if you want to know why it deals with social issues and politics, that's why.

The Portuguese influence is certainly the main one, taking in Brazilian samba along the way - one of the few acts to make any waves outside of Angola were Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda in the 60's and 70's playing a style known as kizomba, an amalgamation of Portuguese vocals and African music peculiar to Angola. Also big (known as the father of Angolan pop) was Carlos Vieira Dias, but maybe the biggest outside of the country is Bonga Kuenda - at various times also a footballer and an athlete, he earned an arrest warrant (not quite as far as Dias, arrested by the Portuguese but I'm sure, plenty far enough) for his track Mona Ki Ngi Xica (The Child I'm Leaving Behind).

If I can actually get hold of some more of this music, I will do, because there's frustratingly little I can link you in to: you can, however, listen here to Mona Ki Ngi Xica, which besides being culturally relevant, is a really beautiful song. I found it on a Portuguese language blog from Faro, Algarve, FARO ESTE. Also, thanks to a Denis who provided the Carl Craig mix of Cesaria Evora's Angola - Evora is Cape Verdean, I believe, but that's good enough for me.

Bonga - Mona Ki Ngi Xica

Cesaria Evora - Angola (Carl Craig mix)

Buy/Buy/Buy Angolan music
Sources: Radio Canal Angola; Wikipedia; Le Monde
Tags: Angola; World Cup; semba; kizomba; bonga; Orquestra os Jovens do Prenda; Carlos Vieira Dias; Cesaria Evora; Cape Verde; Carl Craig

CIA Factbook: Angola

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