Carlos Burity

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Massemba Review

by Mark Romano

Carlos Burity is another exceptional artist from Angola who produces consistently good albums. His Massemba is a finely crafted example of semba, the Angolan rhythmic root of Brasilian samba. Burity's strong, raspy vocals are complemented here by a solid lineup of Angolan and Cape Verdean musicians. In contrast to his previous album, Carolina, this record features a more pared-down sound minus the synthesizers. The album is not only recorded better, but the authentic percussion here is more pleasing to the ear than the synthesized beats of Carolina. This is semba at its fiery best, with absolutely no filler. The vocals are earthy, melodic, and sparked with rhythm, and the guitars and keyboards punctuate the rhythmic fabric with deceptively simple riffs. Underpinning the whole album is percussion that dances on, in, under, over, around, and through everything. "A Jingonca do Macao" has a beautiful melody laced with tight guitar work and percolating percussion, while "Ojala Ye Ya," featured on the disc Angola 90's, is a relentless semba that puts out a lot of steam. Songwriting and musicianship like this just don't get stale. Another jewel in Angola's musical crown, Massemba just gets better with each listen.

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