Born in 1942, Angola’s José Adelino Barcelo de Carvalho, aka Bonga, can justly claim veteran status and that is exactly what he does on his thirty-first album, ‘Recados de Fora’ (Messages from Elsewhere), recorded quietly in Lisbon, Mindelo and Paris. In Lisbon because the singer – a former colonial subject who became a rebel known as ‘Bonga Kuenda’ (“he who gets up and walks”) – lives in Portugal. In Mindelo because all members of the African- Portuguese musical community inevitably meet on one night or another on the island of São Vicente, and because Cesaria Evora’s hometown boasts many excellent musicians, including the guitarist Bau and the pianist Chico Serra, who both feature on the album. Finally in Paris because it was there, after meeting other exiles (particularly South-American ones) before Portugal’s 1974 Carnation Revolution, that Bonga found a haven of artistic peace with the Lusafrica label created by Cape Verde’s José da Silva, producer and friend of the great ‘Cize’. What is enchanting about Bonga’s music – its special quality – is his ability to observe the world caustically, but “with affection and empathy”. And on ‘Recados de Fora’, that ability is reflected in the backing vocals, brass, flute and percussion – all orchestrated with a light touch by producer Betinho Feijo. And as ever, Bonga’s incomparably husky voice goes hand in hand with the dikanza, a section of grooved bamboo scraped with a stick, his constant accompaniment. Bonga is an elder now. For the artist, African identity is inseparable from the way he raised his children, teaching them to respect their parents and the aged, who are seen as fountains of knowledge in Africa but all too often judged a burden in Europe. Those things that sum up Bonga are his extraordinarily gravelly voice, his dance-friendly melancholy and his solid strength, which won over a certain Gaël Faye (on the track ‘Président’ from his first album) and Bernard Lavilliers (their duo ‘Angola’ featured on Bonga’s last album, ‘Hora Kota’, released in 2012). That voice has been fascinating one generation after another for over forty years – because, in the end, Bonga is young, too.
Avec son nouvel album Recados de Fora (Messages d’ailleurs) Bonga, qui vient de fêter ses 76 ans, raconte un parcours fascinant à travers plusieurs époques et plusieurs continents, et toujours avec l’océan Atlantique en fil d’Ariane.
Le chanteur, auteur et compositeur, revient pêle-mêle sur sa jeunesse, sa prise de conscience aigüe à l’égard de la colonisation portugaise, son initiation à la musique par son père pêcheur et accordéoniste, son amour pour le semba, symbole de l’identité nationale angolaise et dont le kizomba, cette musique prisée par les jeunes générations n’est qu’une version modernisée. Car s’il est l’un des derniers géants de la musique africaine post-coloniale, on peut dire qu’aujourd’hui Bonga incarne le semba.
| LINE-UP FROM PARIS OR LISBON:
5 Artists on stage + 1 tour manager
| DATE 2019:
26/11/19 PARIS - FR - LA CIGALE
29/11/19 BRUXELLES - BE - FLAGEY
30/11/19 ANTWERP - BE - ARENBERG
| LABEL :