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28 October 2014
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June 2002
Lessons from the university of life

Getting in the carnival spirit back home in Angola

Thirty-one-year-old percussionist and singer Paulo Carnoth escaped civil war in Angola seven months ago to make a new life in Leicester.

How I came to the music
Music is my life - an artist’s life, theatre, music, painting. I never went to university but I learned in a big college - the street. Just see, look, hear. It’s a big faculty, the university of life. I play bongo, agogo, bells, marimba. When you get two or three instruments you can play every instrument. I sing soul music, I sing every style but especially I write poems.

Paulo playing thumb piano

Paulo playing the thumb piano

I like dub poetry. The drum is special because all music comes from the drum. I know about rhythms. In my country you can listen to every kind of music. Angola is a free place for music. Traditional music has a special style. I want to be a top musician. I believe God will light my way.

Where I play
Some places have a special carnival. Carnival is a free party. People celebrate the day when we got independence.

Paulo drumming on the street

Angolan street music

Carnival is a popular festival because the rhythm is used in the Caribbean, used in Angola, used in Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, everywhere in Africa. People come outside to celebrate.

I think it’s important when people celebrate together. You can enjoy yourself. The Ngoma drumming group meets at the Y Theatre in Leicester.

Paulo on the beach

Angola's beautiful beaches

For me, it’s good, now I have too much friends. I don’t have family, no contact. In Jubilee weekend, holiday, we played in town in the group Ngoma. People feel happy because it’s a good rhythm - traditional rhythm - black and white.

A favourite song
Music in my country is specially about the social situation. My poem - I have tears in my eyes. Miss mother, miss the love I lost. Sometimes I want to cry. I don’t know why in Angola now is big situation.

Some young people like me have no legs or have lost lives because of the situation. It’s trouble. For me, it’s very bad. I can’t talk about it. Young are dead because there is no food, people are dead like insects.

More local musicians seeking sanctuary.


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