Friday, March 18, 2011

Bonga - Marika (1984)

The gruff voice of Bonga (Barceló de Carvalho) is without question the best-known one from Angola. When Bonga exchanged his life as an athlete for that of a musician, in the early 70s, he began a productive career that has produced over thirty records, and immense popularity in Angola, Portugal and the rest of the Lusophone world. There is a reasonable biography of Bonga here.

While his earliest recordings (Angola 72, Angola 74) were revived as CD reissues in the late 1990s, much of his exceptional work from the late 70s and early 80s, when his musical maturity and cosmopolitan experience combined to produce the iconic sound that has endured through the decades. Today we feature the album that spotlights Bonga's song Marika, which evolved from its semba roots on Angola 74 to become "real soukous" on this album. Critics of the day claimed that Bonga was abandoning his roots and becoming "commercial," but he rejected that criticism by claiming, justifiably, that soukous is related to the music of northern Angola. Indeed, one of the leading singers in Congolese rumba in that era was Sam Mangwana, who also has Angolan roots.

Bonga was, however, internationalist with his music, and Marika has the imprint of Cape Verdean morna and Portuguese fado, especially on the song, here called Camin Longe, which is a version of the epic Sodade that became a signature song for Cesaria Evora. Varied, interesting, stretching from traditional to organic African pop, I think you will like this album.


Anonymous said...

thanks for this LP, great, thanks for your blog.
undoubtedly one of the best works of Bonga.
Greetings from Colombia

Juan C

Rhythm Connection said...

thanks, Juan; more Bonga to come. . .

alfredo said...

Hola,amigos de RhythmCxn mis mas sinceros saludes soy Alfredo de cartagena,colombia.garcias por la tremenda programacion.

Rhythm Connection said...

Con mucho gusto, Alfredo. No vemos un día en Cartagena!