Waldemar Bastos - Renascence
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Waldemar Bastos
World Connection (www.worldconnection.nl)

It's been seven years since the last album by Waldemar Bastos, one of Lusafrican music's greatest figures. That previous one, the David Byrne-produced Pretaluz, was a lovely if melancholy affair, made when the ravages of civil war still hung heavy over Bastos' native Angola. Things are better there now (though far from idyllic), so Bastos' new disc takes on a feel of cautious celebration and, as the name suggests, rebirth. The opening track, "Outro Tempo Novo," is rather like the musical equivalent of waking up to a beautiful day, and the rest of the album delivers on that promise. Bastos' style has evolved to sound less specifically Angolan than, say, Bonga, embracing some lightly funky songs with subtly swelling horns and a goodly amount of guitar and general structuring that sounds distinctly Congolese (Bastos was actually born on the Angola/Congo border) in addition to the kind of Afro-Portuguese sway heard in Brazilian music. Taking things further out into the world without leaving Angola behind, Bastos adds such further adornments as a Turkish string section here and there and the rough-and-tumble vocals of Jamaica's Chaka Demus to give the remix of "Patanga Madurinha" a Caribbean jolt. Vocally, Bastos is in prime shape, sounding suitably invigorated and not letting his naturally warm tones veer off into any excesses. Renascence is just one of those great albums that effortlessly grab you, each track a highlight that makes you wonder what the next has in store. - Tom Orr

CD from cdroots

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