In 1975, Teta Lando’s music was the sound of Angolan identity mired in a delicate post-colonial state. The Angolan War of Independence from Portugal was over and nationalist movements fought for power in the wake of autonomy, to be followed by a decades-long civil war for stability in the shadow of the Cold War.
Lando’s album from that milestone year, Independência, is an idealistic marker in the midst of the struggle between an oppressive past and an uncertain future for the Angolan state and its society. His pleas for peace are the foundation for this stunning and confident record, singing of love and freedom in Portuguese, the colonial language
The music progresses cautiously, with guitar and percussion moving forward as precariously as the nationalist movements themselves. “Brother, love your brother” sings Lando in the title refrain, with the faith of a man who has seen the best and worst in his comrades. The phrases he repeats—união, camarada, ama o teu irmão—are incantations to unity, camaraderie, and brotherhood that, at times, feel elusive. His voice is pleading with conviction. The melody is a march towards harmony and independence that leads to the povo de angola unido (people of Angola united).
That unity would indeed be elusive for many years. Nonetheless, the idealism of the moment carries Lando, his music, his countrymen, and their identity onward, despite the coming years of exile, tension, and violence in Angola. words / a bellmas
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