Sweet Angola

Bonga

Kaxexe (Europe: Lusafrica 627325 , 2003 / US: Times Square,
2004)

Since the early ‘70s,
Bonga
has been one of Angola’s biggest singing stars and a very popular international
musical ambassador, particularly through his many well-received US tours. He’s
managed that very difficult crossover which means that his music and,
specifically, his splendidly mellifluous voice has great appeal for lovers of
traditional and contemporary music alike. Singing in Portuguese, the lingua
franca of modern mood music, gives Bonga an instant advantage in the broad
appeal stakes but, over a 30+-year career he’s had his down moments as well as
the up. In fact, over the past 7 or so years his output has been sporadic in
terms of quality.

Thankfully, Kaxexe represents a break from that decline with a strong
set of ballad and mid-paced shufflers which are every bit as good as the best
moments from the unique-voiced singer’s three decades at the top. That voice is
hard to define, smooth yet gravelly, like the aural equivalent of a lick from a
cat’s tongue, strange and yet, oddly, pleasurable. If you’re unfamiliar with
Bonga’s style, then to say it approximates to

Cesaria Evora
’s musical brand known as morna should give the essence of the
sound – and Bonga’s vocal style is every bit as captivating as that of La Diva
Aux Pieds Nus. Whether you’ve heard his music before or not, this is the time to
pick up on what is possibly a career best to date. If you love melodic, romantic
music with honeyed sweetness but no saccharine don’t miss out.

Share