Sounds and Memories Among Migrants from Angolan Decolonization

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From 1975, as a result of the decolonization process, more than half a million people left Angola, where they resided, to head to Portugal. It was forced migration due to the political, economic and social instability, during the period of decolonization of Angola. Migrants, mostly Portuguese or of Portuguese origin, once they arrived at their destination, were called “retornados” (returnees). This paper discusses the role of music in the phenomenon of forced migration in which “naturais e ex-residentes de Angola” (natural-born and former residents of Angola) were the protagonists, as well as the ways this displacement is now experienced by them. This article presents two case studies, results of fieldwork conducted in Portugal. The first concerns gatherings that are held annually in the city of Caldas da Rainha by former residents of Angolan city of Huambo, where music and dance are of great importance. The second is focused on the expressive practices of Pedro Coquenão, who was born
in the city of Huambo, radio announcer, musician, DJ and mentor of the
performance project “Batida”. In bothcases I analyze the role of music and performance in the integration, affirmation and re-invention of identity. I
emphasize the importance of memory and its uses, and the sensorial expressive practices of the participants, since they promote the continuity and the reconstruction of their “angolanidade” (Angolanity) in Portugal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-168
Number of pages8
JournalMusic and Human Mobility. Redefining Community in Intercultural Context
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventConferência Internacional Música e Mobilidade Humana - Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas - Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Duration: 7 Jun 20169 Jun 2016


  • Music
  • Forced migration
  • Returnees
  • Angola
  • Memory


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