You can’t escape the past. The Portuguese authorities have tried, though, as they have more or less slumped significant parts of the black community together in the outskirts of their largest cities. It could almost seem as if the less responsibility the country is willing to take for its imperialist history, the sooner the whole ordeal will be forgotten. But nah: Portuguese-Angolan Pedro Coquenão considers his music to be inextricably bound to the colonial times, to the extent that writing songs has become a political project in itself.
In Coquenãos previous work as a radio host, he seemed unable to find a missing link between semba, the popular music in Angola before their independence from Portugal in 1975, and kuduro, the currently reigning music genre in the African country – which is also becoming a huge phenomenon outside of Lisbon’s suburbs, with the suspiciously familiar name batida. It was at this point that the man of the hour took the matter in his own hands. He formed Batida and set out to merge the organic, wistful folk sound of the former with the synthetic, energetic house rhythms of the latter. Traditional club music, if you will – which of course affects the concert format, where live instrumentation plays a significant role.
Evidence suggests that Coquenão is an old soul trapped in a young scraps. He is in fact one of very few that has published brand new music on the fabulous reissue-focused label Soundway Records. It makes total sense, however, because Batida share their artistic vision: Only in the light of our own past are we able to understand our current selves fully.
Double billing with Alo Wala.
ID: 20 years
Text: Kim Klev