29/05/2024Berlin's Daniel Haaksman Gives Angolan Composer Prado Paim's 1974 Hit A Novel Spin Feat. Colombia's Los Bulldozer

Love can be the only answer, we think to ourselves in these trying times. And so today, we share this welcome rework of an Angolan classic with you, by none other than tropical bass pioneer and jack of all trades, Daniel Haaksman. The Man Recordings label founder had long housed the original in his personal record collection and recently rediscovered it while digging through his own crates. Originally released in 1974, "Engracia" was Prado Paim's "first 7" single to reach gold status in a country where a domestic music industry was only about to kick off as a platform for homegrown musicians." Needless to say, the song "went on to become one of the biggest hits in Angola" and Prado Paim "one of the greatest Angolan rumba composers of his generation." Sung in Kimbundu – the second-most-widely-spoken Bantu language in Angola – and "heavily influenced by Congolese rumba," it is, quite simply, a love song for a woman named Engracia that is sure to charm you in both its original and updated form.

Having retrieved this gem from his collection, Haaksman decided to rip it and run it through AI, allowing him to separate the stems. Upon realising that the acapella vocals he had extracted were something he might be able to work with, he doubled down and proceeded to remix the entire track. Having created a beat, he invited his long-time collaborator Loss Bulldozer – who also featured on Haaksman's 2023-released longplayer "Sonido Lava" – to lay down the guitar parts, "added some reggae-leaning synth chords" and finally worked in the original voice of Prado Paim. With the help of contacts in Angola, Haaksman eventually succeeded in contacting the now 82-year-old Prado Paim, who gave the "alemão" ('German') and this rejuvenated version of "Engracia" his blessing.

Kicking things off in a digital style, Loss Bulldozer's guitar drops the telltale rumba leitmotif before Prado Paim's voice joins in the mix and takes center stage in serenading "Engracia". Emanating a certain sun-drenched, sea-side swagger, there is no doubt in our minds that this contemporary rework should ingratiate itself with listeners from a broad spectrum and set a dancefloor or two alight this summer season. At the same time, it is so laidback that we can also very well picture vibing to it while reclining in a hammock and knocking down another cold one by the beach. Cheers!

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom