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World Music CD Reviews Africa

Lulendo

By Tom Orr
Published March 16, 2007

Angola
Buda Musique 3017263

ANGOLA

This CD's title leaves no room for error regarding where Lulendo hails from, and as expected, his sound has similarities to that of such countrymen as Waldemar Bastos and Bonga. He's got his own path to trod, though. The tonality and phrasing of his singing have a distinct Congolese lilt, as do the bubbling guitars and likembes he employs. And he's not above occasionally goosing things along with funk or rock textures and a few mechanized beats. What carries the day, though, is the warm, inviting, and unmistakably Lusophone nature the music retains even in its harder moments. Undauntedly singing the praises of his troubled homeland on the title track, taking a celebratory tone on "Sambalele" and easing into the gorgeous, Richard Bona-esque falsetto of "Elembo," Lulendo's multilingual (Potuguese, Lingala, Kikongo, French) vocals elegantly make Angola a winning combination of familiarity and progressive artistry that don't cancel each other out.