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An Angolan Singer Tells Us About Luanda's Awesome Music and Nightlife

coreondu_photo.jpgEach week in our new column, "No Sleep Til...," we'll be talking to cool kids around the globe, asking them to fill us in about the bands, DJs, music venues and night spots they and their friends are obsessing over. Next time you visit their home city, leave your Fodor's and Lonely Planet guides behind and go party like a local instead.


Coréon Dú



Where do you live?

Between Luanda, Angola and the world

What do you do (profession or school)?

Musician & Creative Entrepreneur. [Ed note: Watch one of Coréon's music videos HERE.]

I'm a singer and [have been] doing it professionally since 2008. My debut album The Coréon Experiment came out in 2010. I also do creative direction and production for many advertising and TV projects in Angola. My most exciting project has been writing/producing my first telenovela, Windeck.

What Angolan bands or DJs do you like and think that Americans should know about?

I'm a big fan of a lot of the classics -- two of my all-time favorites are Carlos Burity, who does a traditional style of Angolan popular music called semba, and the late, great André Mingas who did a fusion of traditional Angolan rhythms with jazz and soul music. I've also just discovered Angolan rock from the '60s through '70s and I'm really into Vum Vum and Lilly Tchiumba who have some pretty electrifying songs. In terms of newer generation artists, there is a wonderful artist that does kizomba music called Yola Semedo (both as a solo artist and with her family's band Impactus 4). She has an amazing voice and it's incredible to see her performances where it's just her singing and playing the keys. I also really enjoy a jazz artist called Sandra Cordeiro -- she's very demure and petite in person but has a soulful, powerful voice. Matias Damasio is a great singer-songwriter, and Kizua Gourgel has a really interesting sound -- a very distinctive, raspy baritone.

As for DJs, [I like] DJ Silyvi who does a style of dance music that mixes traditional Angolan rhythms with house music and an Angolan electronic genre called kuduro. I've also just discovered two really cool young DJs, DJ Satelite and DJ Ketchup, who both started as kuduro producers/DJs and now really just have their own sound, which is indescribable but will definitely keep you dancing.

How did you discover them?

Carlos Burity and André Mingas I discovered as a child listening to my parents' vinyl records and they were on radio and TV a lot when I was a kid. I also had the pleasure of working with both of them, which is really cool. I've produced shows with Mr. Burity and André Mingas actually wrote a song for my album.

Vum Vum and Lilly Tchiumba I discovered through research. I was researching for a show and compilation about how music is a big part of our "brand" as Angolans. It was a project where young artists were challenged to reinterpret songs from the past from the 1960s to 1990s. Impactus 4 have been around since my childhood -- they were a band of young kids doing music for other kids so I guess my generation grew up with them. I moved out of Angola when I was 8 and they moved to Namibia for a while and I was really happy when they came back to Angola and were still making great music. Yola Semedo -- the lead singer (and youngest sister) -- now has a really successful solo career. Her voice is flawless.

Sandra Cordeiro, funny enough, I discovered when I was producing an awards show for women called Divas Angola in 2007. I was looking for up-and-coming artists that brought something different to the table. The show's musical director was producing her debut album and I fell in love with her music the first time I heard it. Matias Damasio won a singing competition where aspiring singers mimic well-known performers, but after that he became known for winning every song-writing competition that exists in the country basically. When he finally released his debut album, I knew I had to have it. I actually have all of them, because he has great music, writes great lyrics whether it's something to make you dance, think about love or a socially conscious song.

I first heard Kizua Gourgel playing live at a local club, and the first time I ever performed in Angola was with him up on stage. Coincidentally, he and I are cousins. His cousin, my uncle Beto Gourgel, was a musician and one of the best-known Angolan comedians.

I discovered Silyvi at a local nightclub where he was a resident DJ, and then he did a song called "Let the Beat Run Free" with an incredible singer named Irina whom I grew up with, and I've been hooked on a his sound ever since. DJs Satelite and Ketchup were people I kept running into in kuduro blogs and bootleg street compilations.

What does their music sound like?

They are all very different, as I have really eclectic musical taste. Angolan music is hard to explain -- you have to experience it to know what I'm talking about. Musically we are a big melting pot where you will get an African element mixed with a lot of Latin flavor that comes from us being a former Portuguese colony and our affinity with Caribbean and Latin music. But you also have a lot edgy electronic music influenced by a blend of our own heritage with European and American influences, influences from anything to Bollywood movies to trance and hip-hop.

Where are the cool places to see live music in Luanda?

There are plenty of good places and it all depends what kind of music you are into. Most places, the music varies depending on the day or night you go. The most famous place for live music would probably be Centro Recreativo Kilamba, which plays a lot of traditional music and a lot of big acts but there's also a lot of big, local pop acts that play there. King's Club, which is owned by the band The Kings, has a really intimate, neighborhood vibe. There's also Miami Beach Club, which has a lot of different live acts, as well as Espaço Bahia where they have anything from live concerts to open mic nights and poetry shows. That's a really cool one for up-and-comers and alternative artists.

Describe your perfect night out in Luanda.

I'm a bit of a goody-two shoes so most of my weekends are spent at home. Since in Angola we are very family-oriented, we usually have a big, long lunch with family, which starts around 2-3pm and then turns into a party around 10pm. Usually after that some people go clubbing or they party until the morning in their backyard with their family and friends. Backyard parties are a big thing here in Angola. I actually like the Angolan way because you get to eat really nice food, enjoy good company, and dance.

What's your favorite bar/nightclub in Luanda? What are the cool neighborhoods/areas in Luanda to hang out?

I can't quite say I have a favorite because there are a lot of really good ones. There are some really nice beach clubs at the Ilha do Cabo (Cabo Island), which is near the Luanda bay where you can have anything from a regular club atmosphere to a down-home backyard style experience. There are some really nice bars and clubs downtown in the city center. My recommendation downtown is a place called Fortaleza that's right beside the Fortaleza de São Miguel (or Saint Michael Fort -- the Fort of Luanda) and is a restaurant that I think is one of Luanda's best kept secrets. In Ilha do Cabo is Shogun restaurant, a Japanese restaurant with sushi and hibachi. It also has a nice quiet beach. The Bay Inn Club has a great view of the Luanda Bay and Tamariz is a popular daytime hangout. (A word about beaches: the best ones are outside the city, toward the south, like Sangano Beach, which has miles of white sand and clean sea and also Cabo Ledo where local surfers go.)

Aside from clubs, the best places to get traditional Angolan food are Quintal de Tia Guida, the best place to have mufete, a dish that includes grilled whole fish with a homemade onion sauce accompanied by steamed sweet plantains, yucca and beans in palm oil sauce. Funge House, in the city center, is where you can enjoy the traditional funge, which is comparable to polenta or foufou from other African countries. It's often made with cassava (yucca) flour or corn flour and accompanied by various meat, fish or vegetable dishes. The best place for caldo -- a fish stew made from fresh fish, sweet potatoes and yucca, often with a side of palm oil beans -- can be found at Multibocas or Jango Veleiro, which is open late for an after-club shift. Caldo is enoyed as a family dish as well as a hangover cure by some of my party animal friends.

What's a bar or nightclub you would NEVER go to in Luanda?

I don't think there are any -- I've been to a wide range of different places and different crowds all over the city and the country, and it´s nice to discover new ones.

Check out Coréon's band and DJ recs:

Carlos Burity -- "Malalanza"

André Mingas -- "É Luanda"

Vum Vum -- "Muzangola"

Lilly Tchiumba -- "Mona Ki N'Gui Xissa"

Yola Semedo -- "Injusta"

Sandra Cordeiro -- "Luandense"

Matias Damasio -- "Kwanza Burro"

Kizua Gourgel -- "Tetembwa ya mwenho ami"

DJ Silyvi -- "Tambuleno"

DJ Satelite -- "Trombetas De Angola"

DJ Ketchup -- Ezio ft. DJ Ketchup "Uzaru Uzau"

Check out Coréon's nightlife listings:

Centro Recreativo e Cultural Kilamba, address unknown

King's Club, R. António Feliciano Castilho, Vila Alice, Luanda

Miami Beach Club, Av. Murtala Mohamed, S/N, Luanda

Espaço Bahia, Avenida 4 de Fevereiro 183, Luanda

Naquele Lugar or Fortaleza, Calcada de S. Miguel, s/n, Cidade Alta Provincia de Luanda, Luanda

Próximo ao Banco BCP, Ilha de Luanda, Chicala, Luanda

Rua Murtala Mohamed, Ilha do Cabo, Luanda

Quintal de Tia Guida, Ilha de Luanda

Funge House, Avenida Lenine, Luanda

Multibocas, Rua Murtala Mohamed, Ilha do Cabo, Luanda (across the street from Tamariz)

Jango Veleiro, Av. Murtala Mohamed, Ilha de Luanda, Luanda

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