Boomkat Product Review:
A rare window into Angolan musical culture. Guitarist Mário Rui Silva folds traditional Angolan and West African rhythms into European jazz forms, creating music that's subtle, beautiful and completely distinct.
'Stories from Another Time' compiles music from three of Silva's 1980s albums, "Sung’Ali", "Tunapenda Afrika" and "Koizas dum Outru Tempu". Silva was a researcher and intellectual who was motivated to find the roots of Angolan culture in spite of its centuries-long struggle with colonization. Spurred on by Angolan musical legend Liceu Vieira Dias of traditional band Ngola Ritmos, Silva wanted to understand the politics and spiritualism behind Angolan music. Dias took traditional semba and kazukuta rhythms and infused them into contemporary music in the '40s and '50s, helping Angola to find national pride as the country struggled to assert itself after years of colonial rule.
Luanda-born Silva attempted to do similar with his music - and while it sounds aesthetically similar to Brazilian music of the 1970s, this was almost accidental. Silva was in fact attempting to move away from Portugese-centered culture and its tropical fetishism, and develop a sound that was purely Angolan. The music is hard to place, it sounds almost out of time, both ancient and surprisingly contemporary, with soft pop hooks underpinned by complex polyrhythms and chiming mbira. The fusion feels fluid and considered - there's no cynicism here at all, rather Silva approaches his sounds with a deft, open-hearted charm that rings from every word and lightly-picked note. Huge recommendation.