Radiodiffusion Internasionaal Annexe

Urbano De Castro
August 23, 2008, 9:13 pm
Filed under: Angola


During the early 1960s, the Portuguese government that ruled Angola realized that they needed to silence the musicians and other artists who were breeding resentment against their colonial authority. Instead of ostracizing Angolan culture, the Portuguese started to encourage it, although in a very controlled way. A small local recording industry began, and radio stations started to play Angolan music. At the time, the music of Angola was heavily influenced by the popularity of Congolese music from the neighboring country as well as Portuguese Fado, Latin Merengue and American Jazz.

Originally a locksmith by trade, Antonio Urbano de Castro started out in show business as a side show performer. He and his friends Dikembé, Fakir and Silva would run shows of acrobatics, lifting barrels with their teeth and other exercises. Shortly afterwards, De Castro and Dikembé formed a vocal duo, and would sing for small auditoriums at funerals and other rituals.

But that changed when Luis Montês caught De Casto performing at the N’gola cinema in Luanda. Montês would go on to arranged for De Castro to perform at the “Kutonoca”, a programme of popular music that occurred on Saturdays in different districts of the capital.

In a career that only lasted five years, De Castro recorded over fifty songs. He also was able to record with the best known groups existing at the time – Os Kiezos, Jovens do Prenda, África Ritmos, África Show, Super Koba and Águias Reais.

When Portugal’s Carnation Revolution happened in 1974, there was a sudden withdrawal of administrative and military personnel from Portugal’s overseas colonies. As a result, Angola would enter into a decades-long civil war. During this time, De Castro illegally moved to Congo-Brazzaville. Upon his return to Angola, he joined the anti-Communist Union for the Total Independence of Angola political party.

On May 27, 1977. Urbano De Castro was killed by members of the opposing Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola party that has ruled the country since its independence.

The song “Revolução De Angola “ was included in Buda Musique’s “Angola 70’s: 1974-1978“ compilation, and three of De Castro’s songs were on the “Soul of Angola Anthology: 1965-1975” on Lusafrica.

Catalog number R:- 1003 on Rebita, pressed by Fadiang (also known as Rádio Reparadora do Bié) in Silva Porto for Discoteca de Angola in Luanda. No release date listed.

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