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Cabo Verde Music

· Travel

I write on Quora from time to time, answering questions about Cabo Verde. As I was going through my content, I saw the following questions and answers about Cabo Verdean music which I'm happy to share with you all on this blog as well. Enjoy!

What kinds of music do they listen to in Cape Verde?

3 of the most traditional types of music in Cabo Verde are:

  • Morna
  • Coladeira
  • Funana

Morna and Coladeira are types of music that went from our ‘small’ country to the entire world thanks to our ‘Queen’ Cesaria Evora and the many thousands of Cabo Verdean immigrants who live all over the world.

Morna is a very melancholic type of music, which has always been used by Cabo Verdeans to express their feelings, especially when they are away from home. Cesaria Evora’s Sodade is seen by many as a kind of ‘national anthem’.

Coladeira is more up tempo, and less serious. It’s the type of music people like to dance to. Funana is amazing, it has an incredible energy which makes it impossible for you not to dance :)

Edit: Today, a lot of different styles of music are popular in the country. For example, the second weekend of August was all about the Baia das Gatas Festival. This is Cape Verde’s biggest and oldest music festival, and had artists from different countries performing Rap, Reggae, Axé (from Brazil), Carnival Music and much more! (Btw: headliner was UB40!)

What are some of the best songs from Cape Verde?

When I saw this question that was also the first song (Sodade) that I could hear in my mind. For me, as a son of Cape Verdean immigrants that Cesaria song is like a national anthem :) It has the power to make me emotional at any time.

There are two other songs that come to mind. One by the group Ferro Gaita, and another one by Tito Paris. The Ferro Gaita song, a very energetic Funana which really makes you wanna dance. The intro alone is famous, and I love it! The song is called ‘É si Prôpi’.

The other song, by Tito Paris, is another emotional song like Sodade by Cesaria. It’s called ‘Morna’ (and it is as well :) ), and is a musical masterpiece if you ask me. I love the live version of the song where Tito is performing it with a group of violinists.

What is the meaning of music in Cape Verdean culture?

Music and culture in general is such an important thing for Cape Verde and it’s people. You would say this goes for all people and countries, but in country’s with a history like that of Cape Verde it seems to be even more important.

Cape Verde has developed rapidly in recent years. But what you see today when visting the country is so completely different from what the country looked like 15 or 20 years ago.

As a son of immigrants who moved to Europe for better opportunities I know a few things about the difficulties that the people in Cape Verde used to face (and unfortunately still do).

This is where Morna comes in. Morna is a very melancholic music genre, which is used to describe feelings of deep sadness. The thousand and thousands of Cape Verdean immigrants all over the world (many living in coutry’s like U.S., Portugal, France, Angola and The Netherlands) have used these songs to feel a little closer to home.

I’ve been in a lot of situations where a beautiful Morna brings tears to the eyes of the listener while thinking about the country: family left behind, the simple but incredible lifestye and the beauty of so many places…

I can only imagine how it was like for my mother to arrive in Rotterdam as a 18-year old girl who had never traveled beyond the island of Santo Antão. Morna has helped all these people through difficult times abroad, while strenghtening the connections between the ones that left, and the ones that stayed behind.

However, Morna is not only about the ‘Sodade’ you feel when you are not on your beloved island or country. It’s about the very deep connection most Cape Verdeans feel when it comes to their home, which they know in their heart truly is a special place…

Interested in Cabo Verdean culture?

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