Author, historian Ned Sublette writes: “Something special in NYC this week: on Wednesday (22) at Le Poisson Rouge, Angolan singer-songwriter Paulo Flores makes his US debut. This is a big deal for the Angolan / Angolaphile community. His 1990 hit “O Povo,” which popularized the word kizomba, is here.”
In a 2012 interview, Angolan-music historian Marissa Moorman said:“Paulo Flores has this amazing capacity for being able to poeticize what’s happening in Luanda, and writing about the experience of Angola in general, and about Luanda very specifically. He’s always had poetic lyrics, and a capacity to write with nuance and poignancy about life in Angola. He has a massive fan base. So he takes off in that sense, he becomes hugely popular. I think he’s 16 when he records for the first time. He decides round about 2002, when he his CD Recompasso, to move back to Angola, and he still goes back between Lisbon and Luanda, but he moves back to Luanda in a much more permanent way . . . he’s really done an amazing job of bringing semba back, and I think he’s the first young musician that begins to re-invigorate semba, and re-think semba . . . He is, I think, seen as the Angolan musician who probably has the greatest musical reach and musical courage. . . . Each album, he works with a different set of musicians, and moves in different directions.”
Tomas speaking: Could this be the start of something? Let’s hope Paulo’s performance paves the way for other Angolan artists to make their way to the US.