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Music of São Tomé and Príncipe

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Title: Music of São Tomé and Príncipe  
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Subject: Lusophone music, Music of Africa, Music of Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, Music of Guinea-Bissau
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Music of São Tomé and Príncipe

São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country off the coast of Africa. Culturally, the people are African but have been highly influenced by the Portuguese rulers of the islands.

São Toméans are known for ússua and socopé rhythms, while Principe is home to the dêxa beat. Portuguese ballroom dancing may have played an integral part in the development of these rhythms and their associated dances.

Tchiloli is a musical dance performance that tells a dramatic story. The danço-congo is similarly a combination of music, dance and theatre.

Popular music

The godfathers of São Toméan popular music was the band Leoninos, which was founded in 1959 by Quintero Aguiar. The group were well known as spokesmen for the people of São Tomé and Príncipe, and were champions of their culture. Leoninos was banned by the Portuguese radio station after he released "Ngandu", which criticized the Portuguese colonialists.

Leoninos broke up in 1965, but were followed by Os Úntués, led by Leonel Aguiar, who added American, Argentinian, Congolese and Cuban musical influences, and introduced the electric guitar and other innovations. Popular music from the islands began to diversify, as bands like Quibanzas and Africa Negra. Among these groups was Mindelo, who fused São Toméan rhythms with rebita, an Angolan style, to form puxa.

In the latter part of the 20th century, songwriters like Zarco and Manjelegua found a domestic audience, and São Toméan-Portuguese musicians like Camilo Domingos, Juka, Filipe Santo, Açoreano, Gapa established a Lisbon-based scene.

Kizomba

Angolan pop music is called Kizomba and was born out of Zouk music. Kizomba supports a fairly large number of artistes singing in both English and Portuguese.

References

  • Lima, Conceicão, Shaw, Caroline & Chabal, Emile. "Island Music of Central Africa". 2006. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
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