The latest righteous reissue from the terrific Time Capsule is a retrospective focused on the `80s recordings of Angolan guitarist / musicologist, Mario Rui Silva. Each of the 14 selected songs is a showcase for his 6-string skills. From the clipped, acoustic, jazz of Dembita, to the Mexican cantina, Ry Cooder-esque, Lonjura. There are swinging serenades, bolstered by backing singers – with the vibe of a village sing-along – and lullaby-like ballads. On Kambanza K’etu Mario flashes through scales with a flamenco flourish. Bursts of bold brass, cute flute, twilight trumpet, and some serious sanza, also accompany the assembled shuffling semba and kazukuta rhythms. To be honest, the album`s a damn fine fit between Time Capsule`s previous Serginho Meriti and Gratien Midonet projects.
Comparisons to Brazilian contemporaries, such as Jorge Ben, Lo Borges, and Milton Nascimento, are impossible to ignore. These similarities are perhaps inevitable since both Brazil and Angola shared centuries of Portuguese colonial rule, and both suffered severely at the hands of the slave trade. Sad and savage history ties the countries, inextricably. Listening, ignorant, I was wondering if there were any connection between Mario’s music and that collected by John Gomez on his outstanding Outro Tempo opuses. Reading the press notes it became clear that in each case the preserving of traditional musics was a definite political statement – one of national identity and independence.
Mario’s music, however, isn’t heavy, or dark, in the slightest. It remains sunshine-filled from its stunning, standout, opener – the strummed, feel good, funky folk of Kazum-Zum-Zum – to its close. In fact the LP provides the perfect soundtrack to drinking with friends, spending an easy afternoon, drifting into sunset and beyond. Shutting my eyes I can see tropical weather bleached stucco walls, hear the chink of glasses, laughter, light-hearted banter and chatter.
Mario Rui Silva`s Stories From Another Time 1982-1988 is released this Friday, June 25th. You can order a copy directly from Time Capsule.