Lungu Lungu: Lusophone Grace
Story by Benjamin Lebrave
Most people don’t know a whole lot about Lusophone music, meaning music from Portuguese-speaking countries. If anything, Brazil usually comes to mind first—in my experience, whenever I play music from places like Angola, the response is usually something like, “Oh, this sounds Brazilian.” It doesn’t, really, but there are definitely musical elements common to many genres coming from Lusophone countries. I assume it’s because the Portuguese colonized early, and were not afraid to mix with local populations. The Portuguese and their cultural influence have been around longer, and have penetrated deeper, than other colonizing powers.
Now fast forward to post-colonial times, and imagine a musician with Angolan, Cape Verdian and Portuguese roots. Raised in Angola, with family in Brazil. I would dare any Lusophone specialist to pinpoint where such music comes from. I like the idea that a specialist or layman might both be puzzled by Aline Frazão‘s music. A real mishmash of influences—and not all of them stemming from Lusophone genres.
“I cannot remember not being in touch with music” says Aline, who grew up in Luanda. She attended a Portuguese school, where she sang fado, and started performing in public from the age of 9. When she was 15, she heard an Ella Fitzgerald collection, and with it, discovered vocal jazz: “I felt like I was discovering a new dimension, the voice as an instrument… Jazz opened up doors in my mind.”
After she completed high school, she moved to Europe to go to university. Lisbon first, then Barcelona, then Madrid. As Aline puts it, her experience in Europe is itself a kind of musical education: she is exposed to other genres, has the opportunity to meet other musicians with different backgrounds, different focuses, and, just as importantly, she can perform for a wide range of publics. She now lives in Santiago de Compostela, a more quiet place where she can enjoy a slower pace and truly focus on her music. Santiago also happens to be at the heart of Galícia, which linguistically and culturally straddles in between Castilian Spanish and Portuguese.Click here to continue reading at TheFader