Mulemba Xangola

COMPOSERS: Bonga
LABELS: Lusafrica
PERFORMER: Bonga (vocal), etc
CATALOGUE NO: 362272

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Football anoraks may know BONGA, from Angola, as Barcel de Carvalho who played for Benfica and had to go into exile in the Seventies after writing anti-Portuguese songs. He’s still politically committed, though the album doesn’t translate the words. The music, ironically, is as Portuguese-influenced as Brazil’s, with hoarse passionate vocals, swooping acoustic guitars, woodwind backing and languid rhythms. Buena Vista Social Club fans should love it too, especially the eloquent groaning ballad and accordion solos of ‘Escapada’, and they will find themselves gently led further into Africa with songs such as the title number with its leaping bass and choruses.