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Waldemar Bastos

Waldemar Bastos is a vocalist and guitarist who was born close to the Angola-Congo border in 1954. His love of music stems from the variety that he heard while growing up in the colonial times. He recalls hearing Brazilian, European and African songs. His musical talent was recognised by his parents (who were both nurses, but his his father also played piano!) while he was very young. He took music lessons from age 8 - although he doesn't read music, he simply plays by ear. Waldemar's first band was called Jovial and he also formed other bands which toured all round Angola.
During the war for independence Waldemar was imprisoned for no reason while still at school by the Portuguese. Soon after independence in 1973 a civil war broke out. Waldemar had the chance to visit countries such as Poland and Cuba. In 1982 he left Angola and travelled to Portugal, then lived in exile in Germany, France and Brazil for a few years, and recorded his first album Estamos Juntos (We're Together) while in Brazil, working with musicians there. Waldemar notes the 2 paradoxes - he is a musician who can't read music and also an African whose 1st album was recorded in South America! He settled in Lisbon in 1985 and brought out 2 more albums, Angola Minha Namorada and Pitanga Madura. The title song from the latter acquired anthemic popularity in Angola. In 1990 and 1992 Waldemar was on stage in his homeland, drawing huge crowds showing his great popularity.
A few years later, singer David Byrne from Talking Heads bought one of Waldemar's albums, located him and got him signed to the Luaka Bop label