Cape Verde’s passion for music

Those who have been to Cape Verde, know how important music is to Cape Verdeans – it’s their passion. Take  Mindelo, on the island of Sao Vicente, where one of Cape Verde’s greatest singers, the extraordinary Césaria Évoria was born. The airport is named after her so you can’t miss it when you arrive in Sao Vicente.

Even if you have never heard of the barefoot diva (she always performed without shoes), you probably recognise her song Sodade, which she sang with so much passion, pain and longing. She became popular for singing mornas (bit like the fados in Portugal), a music genre from Cape Verde, sung in Creole and accompanied by a guitar or cavaquinho, a small lute like string instrument.

Lyrics Sodade:

Who will show you…
this distant way?
Who will show you…
this distant way?
This way …
to Sao Tomé?

The longing, the longing,…
The longing
For this land of mine, Sao Nicolau
If you write me letter,…
I will write you back

If you forget me,…
I will forget you…
Until the day…
You come back

But it’s not all about mornas, as a story appeared in the media a few years ago about a shipload of Korg and Moog synthesizers as well as Hammond organs, that miraculously appeared on the island of Sao Nicolau in 1968. No one knew how the ship got lost as it was on its way from the USA to Brazil, but as soon as it showed up on Cape Verdean soil the authorities confiscated it and its then leader Amilcar Cabral, ordered that the instruments should be distributed among Cape Verde’s schools. A new sound was born – the Cosmic sound of Cape Verde.

Even though the song Sodade describes the longing and nostalgia experienced by Cape Verdean emigrants; those who moved abroad, maintained their love for music. Remember the R&B band Tavares, five Cape Verdean-American brothers who had a hit with Heaven must be missing Angel in the seventies. Or more contemporary, the less well-known, but equally popular Cape Verdean-Dutch hip hop group Broederliefde who returned to Mindelo to shoot their video for their song Hoe je Bent.     

Cape Verde Holidays - musical group

If music is also a passion of yours, then you should definitely visit Mindelo. During the day, we’ll take you to a guitar making workshop and, in the evening, head for the Livraria Nho Djungo (a Buena Vista style social club) where musicians of all ages perform live.

Interested? Have a look at our Cape Verde Food, Music and Cultural Holiday and give Jake, Max or Susanne a ring on 017687 721040 to discuss your holiday options.

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