Ngola Ritmos

"The instrumental and vocal group Ngola Ritmos, founded in the fifties by Carlos Vieira Dias (better known as 'Liceu'),  made the first and most telling contribution to this musical, cultural revival. Original compositions based on traditional folk motifs, with lyrics in Kimbundu, combined the European guitar with African percussion instruments. One song, 'Mbiri mbiri,' composed by Carlos Vieira Dias, defies, in its rhythmic and melodic structure, the stereotyped batuque label generally applied by Europeans to African music. Significantly, the words tells a story that can be understood o both a literal level of intimist complaint and a symbolic level of social protest. The lyrics speak of a personal lament based on the Kimbundu saying 'Yoso ua dimuka, u diá ngo ué lu moxi é,' which, roughly translated, means 'The wise person allows himself to be fooled only once.' In the song´s story a man is betrayed by a friend, and the refrain, 'mbiri, mbiri, ngongo j'amé' (ay, ay, my suffering), underlines, on another level, the grief of the black Angolan who has adopted European ways only himself in a cultural void, duped by those he thought to be his friends." (HAMILTON, 1975, p.60)


Music, angolanidade and musseques

"Amadeu Amorin, in a radio interview celebrating twenty years of independence, put it succinctly: 'People felt angolanidade; they would get together to hear the music of Ngola Ritmos (of which he was part) and they would feel Angolan…since their songs woke up people's consciousness, they woke up many who were politically distracted and inspired nationalism.' (119). Music was a practice in which people came to see themselves as Angolans. Music and clubs brought people together in spaces where they celebrated a specifity that refused the urban / rural and Western/African dichotomies: Western instruments like guitars could be made to play Angolan rhythms, and Western-style dress could be combined with local dressing practices or could proclaim an African cosmopolitanism that looked beyond the colonial metropole. (120)" (MOORMAN, 2008, p.52)

"(...) the dance and soccer clubs of the musseques, far from producing the docile, "westernized" urban citizens desired by government administrators and social scientists, created instead young men and women who gained a sense of self-sufficiency and autonomy through those very clubs.. This gave them a taste of an independent, self-ruled Angola. In the meantime, the content of the music and dance in these clubs created an angolanidade that gave them some purchase on the imaginary of the nation." (MOORMAN, 2008, p.53)

"The new musical styles were less a mark of transition than a way of expressing new conditions and experiences." (MOORMAN, 2008, p.54)

"With the growth of a locally based recording industry and an explosion of radio stations in tha same period, the music produced in Luanda was available and played throughout the country. Musical talent from other Angolan cities also made it to Luanda stages, both directly and via those who lived in the musseques. In this way, music had a much greater reach than literature and was more intimately a part of everyday life.

(...) An analysis of the music scene, its precursors the lyrics, and the spread of music throughout the country reveals the musseques as a complicated cosmopolitan social space where the national imaginary was made and remade as the guerrilla war raged on in the distance. More than just a stop on the way to modernity or urbanization, the musseques were a place where various generations, classes, ethnic groups, races, and genders met and imagined a new world for themselves in th practices of everyday life." (MOORMAN, 2008, p.55)


HAMILTON, Russel G. (1975). Voices from the Empire. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press, p.60.

KALUNGO-LUNGO, Mwane (1963). "Musica Africana". Mensagem. Ano XV, No. 1. Lisboa: Casa dos Estudantes do Império. pp. 54-59. Em: FERREIRA, Manuel (Ed.) (1992). Mensagem: Boletim da Casa dos Estudantes do Império. Vol. 1, Lisboa, ALAC.

LAMBO, Gonazaga (1962). "Contribução para o folclore angolano". Boletim Mensagem. Ano XIV No. 3Lisboa: Casa dos Estudantes do Império. pp. 5-9. Em: FERREIRA, Manuel (Ed.) (1992). Mensagem: Boletim da Casa dos Estudantes do Império. Vol. 1, Lisboa, ALAC.

LANÇA, Marta (2010). "Recordar Liceu Vieira Dias". Buala (online) 

MOORMAN , Marissa Jean (2008). Intonations: a social history of music and nation in Luanda, Angola, from 1945 to recent times. Athens, Ohio University Press, pp. 52-55.

   — (2010). "Música e lusotropicalismo na Luanda colonial tardia". Buala (online)






Disruptiva’s diagram, as well as the selected materials contained in its archive, is published under the following Creative Commons licence: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported. The materials contained in the archive consist of excerpts and quotations that remain the copyright of their respective authors.