Recording Studio: Angolan Music

Recording Studio: While there are several types of music that are popular in Angola, three main types come up: semba, kizomba, and kuduro. In many of these styles, the dance and the music are one and the same.

Recording Studio: Semba

Semba is a traditional style of music that actually has led to other types, including the famous samba style of Brazil, as well as the other two popular Angolan styles, kizomba, and kuduro. Its origin is from the word “masemba” which means “touch of the bellies,” referring to moves in semba dancing. The rhythms are led many times by guitars, rather than drums alone. Although there is a variety of percussion that is still used, mind you. African music without drumming is like college without drinking (as in, it can be done, but why would you want to?). One really famous semba musician is Bonga. Because of his political view of Angolan independence, he was exiled from Angola during the early 1970s. He ended up fleeing to Europe and traveled between several different countries, yet kept up his music and recordings. His album Angola 72/74 is a great collection, which includes the song “Sodade” that was later made famous by one of my favorite musicians Cesária Évora.

Recording Studio: Kizomba

Kizomba is a blend of semba and zouk, a music style that originally came from the French Caribbean. Kizomba itself seems to be popular mainly in the lusosphere (a fancy word for all the Portuguese-speaking countries) and mainly in the larger cities, such as Lisbon or Luanda.

Recording Studio: Kuduro

Kuduro dancing is a wild, athletic dance style that goes hand-in-hand with kuduro music. It’s reminiscent of the styles of pop and lock, capoeira, and breakdancing. (Although, breakdancing does have its origins in Brazilian capoeira.) It’s really something to watch.