Recados de Fora
more than an album - a legacy.
On his new album Recados de Fora (Messages from Elsewhere), Bonga - who just celebrated his 74th birthday - tells the tale of a fascinating journey across different times and continents. The Atlantic Ocean forms an ever-present connecting thread.
The singer-songwriter looks back pell-mell over his youth, his increasing awareness of Portuguese colonization, how his father introduced him to music, and his love of semba, the symbol of Angolan national identity (kizomba, a favorite genre for younger generations, is a modernized version of semba). In fact, as one of the last great names in postcolonial African music, Bonga embodies semba today. Bonga is semba! - a fact clearly reflected in Tonokenu, a song in the purest tradition of his roots.
Recados de Fora, a journey back in time, also provides an opportunity to remember some of the wonderful people who had an impact on the singer's career. For instance, the cover of Odji Maguado by B. Leza rekindles the flames of Bonga's affection for the Cape Verde islands, a love that began at his first recording sessions in Rotterdam in 1972 when he played with musicians from the archipelago. It is also a tribute to his dear friend Cesaria Evora, who added it to her own repertoire. Then Banza Rémy recalls his long friendship with Remy Kolpa-Kopoul, a French journalist who left us too soon, an unforgettable voice and a great connoisseur of Brazilian music. Bonga brings him back to life with an old theme by songsmith Zé do Norte: Sodade, Meu Bem, Sodade, which was sung before by Maria Bethânia, Nana Caymmi and Nazaré Pereira. The Angolan master's version is enhanced by a searing Portuguese guitar accompaniment.