Mário Rui Silva - Stories from another time 1982 - 1988
Compiled from: Sung'Ali (1982), Tunapenda Afrika (1985) & Kiowas dum Outru Tempu (1988)
Remastered at Metropolis Studios, London
Time Capsule, 2021
Mário Rui Silva was born in Luanda, Angola, a former Portuguese colony on the west coast of sub-Saharan Africa (in fact, the second largest Portuguese speaking country in the world behind Brazil). He became a masterful musician in addition to a dedicated scholar of Angolan music, culture and history.
His initial influence was Liceu Vieira Dias, co-founder of the powerful band N'Gola Ritmos, who used their music as a form of political resistance against Portuguese colonialism. From his interactions with Liceu, Mário acquired an awareness of the social power and importance of music as well as a spiritual understanding of their local music and an undeniable, technical proficiency. Soon, Mário was in contact with other master musicians from nearby countries, such as Francis Bebey, from Cameroon. From this his palate of African rhythms was broadened. He was also taking in the music of fellow-former Portuguese colonialists, such as Baden Powell, from Brazil.
To my ear, initially, this latter influence was the most clear. Perhaps in part because the lyrics are in Portuguese, and I am more familiar with music from Brazil than from Angola, there was no mistaking a Brazil connection. Deeper listens quickly unveil the complex African rhythms and more and more sounds emerge over time. I liked this album a lot the moment I set the needle down... we have been listening to it a lot in the shop and it keeps getting better and better, with more and more subtle sounds cropping forth.
Now, here is why I say "sounds cropping forth" instead of "influences shown" or something like that. To say that Mário's music is influenced by, say Brasilian Tropicalia, would be somewhat backwards to his beliefs. I'm paraphrasing here, but Mário believes the music of Brazil, and indeed much of the world (notably American South), is properly attributed to rhythms and influences carried by slaves (many from in and around Angola), which seeded new musical developments. So, when his music is an interwoven mesh of African rhythms, Brazilian folk and tropicalia, "American" jazz and so much more, he feels it is all part of the Angolan collective identity. I can get behind that, especially when it all sounds so good.
Credit also to the folks at Time Capsule, a record label dedicated to reissues such as this. They seek out ultra-rare, ultra-good music such as this to share with the broader world. Clearly a project of deep passion, the sound quality id fantastic and dedication to education as well as entertainment is inspiring.