Tuesday, January 11, 2011

África Brasil





In getting ready to move to Angola, I've been listening to a lot of Brazilian music and practicing my Portuguese. One song I've been listening to over and over is África Brasil [Zumbi] from Jorge Benjor's 1976 album África Brasil. Zumbi is an enormously important figure in Brazilian history, who I will discuss more in the next post. The song begins by singing about a slave auction and ends with a warning about what will happen when the warrior Zumbi arrives. What caught my attention in the chorus: Angola, Congo, Benguela, Monjolo, Cabinda, Mina, Quiloa, Rebolo.

You can listen to the song in the video at the end of this post.

Congo is both a neighboring country of Angola and an ethnic group. Benguela is a port city and a province in Angola. Cabinda is another Angolan province. The other names, Monjolo, Mina, Quiloa and Rebolo I cannot place. But in searching for an answer, I came across these 1835 drawings of slaves. Could it be that Benjor also saw these drawings and used them to write this song? The same eight names from the chorus are the places of origin of the slaves in the drawings.

Angola holds a special place in the history, culture and spirituality of Brazil. As you can see from the map below, many Angolans were brought to Brazil as slaves, meaning many Brazilians of African descent have roots in Angola. Capoeira and samba are both rooted in Angolan musical and dance traditions. Zumbi himself was most likely Angolan.




Zumbi by Jorge Benjor

Angola Congo Benguela
Monjolo Cabinda Mina
Quiloa Rebolo

Aqui onde estão os homens
Há um grande leilão
Dizem que nele há
Um princesa à venda
Que veio junto com seus súditos
Acorrentados num carro de boi

Eu quero ver
Eu quero ver
Eu quero ver

Angola Congo Benguela
Monjolo Cabinda Mina
Quiloa Rebolo

Aqui onde estão os homens
Dum lado cana de açúcar
Do outro lado o cafezal
Ao centro senhores sentados
Vendo a colheita do algodão tão branco
Sendo colhidos por mãos negras

Eu quero ver
Eu quero ver
Eu quero ver

Quando Zumbi chegar
O que vai acontecer
Zumbi é senhor das guerras
È senhor das demandas
Quando Zumbi chega e Zumbi
É quem manda





Related Post:

Zumbi

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

what an amazing song! thanks heather!!

PJ said...

Okay. This is a comment test but true. Love the entire update-especially Tyree and the luggage (which made me smile)and the air shots and mostly how comfortable you both appear!! It seems you have taken to Luanda and it you. Love you both. I'm comin'