Africa is a big place. I know there are many different cultures and influences but, nevertheless, it is still possible to generalise and talk about African music as a genre.
Tribal music from the west of the continent is, of course, the basis of the Blues and therefore, in turn, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll. But in spite of that, African music is not generally known or listened to much. However, many American and British musicians have been keen to explore it and worked closely with performers from the Dark Continent, as it used to be known. Paul Simon’s Graceland was based entirely on music from South Africa and drummer extraordinaire Ginger Baker set up a recording studio in Lagos in Nigeria after his career working with Eric Clapton and sixties super-group Cream. But influences can go in both directions as last night’s Korzo concert demonstrated.
Chalo Correia grew up in Angola but moved to Portugal over twenty years ago and, consequently, his unique sound contains elements and influences from both countries. His music is based on traditional styles such as the semba, rebita, rumba and kazacuta but the Portugese influence is clear. His music is soft, easy going and relaxed, backed by João Mouro on electric guitar, Ricardo Gouveia on bass and percussionist Miguel Trovoada but many of the lyrics refer to his early life back home in war-torn Angola. He frequently put on a neck harness to play an instrumental on a harmonica while picking on his nylon string Spanish guitar.
The small, but very appreciative audience were clearly knowledgeable fans and before long many of them were out of their seats dancing in front of the stage. African music is largely unexplored territory which is a pity because there is so much there and without it popular music in the West would be quite different. Very enjoyable. Michael Hasted 20th April 2018