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Angolan Bonga: Angola 74

African music history comes to call on Angola 74 (Tinder 48246652; 50:40), by Angolan Bonga, a 1974 follow-up to Angola 72. The musician recorded this song set in exile, while his nation fought for liberation from Portuguese rule. We can sense in these tracks, lined with effectively sparse instrumentation of guitar and percussion instrumentation, both a sad air of dislocation and the intensity of a man longing for the freedom of his people. Also heard on the album is a version of the bittersweet Cape Verde-ian tune “Sodade,” popularized recently by Cesaria Evora, but here heard with Bonga’s pleading, smoky timbre. One of the advantages of hearing archival music such as this, from before the time when Westerners freely interacted with musicians in once-remote parts of the world, is the relative purity of intent and texture. No digital reverb, samplers, or electric guitar riffs in sight here.

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