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Spirit of Cape Verde:

Much more than a Kizomba Festival

· Travel

"Spirit of Cape Verde is all about the rich Cape Verdean culture and connecting people"

Marie Doyen always had a special interest in the Latin American culture. As a young woman she moved from France to Scotland to study Spanish and Portugese. She would later move on to another adventure that would take her to Nicaragua, Panama and Brazil.

Later, when she lived in London she started to dance at a spot where they used to do Lambada. It was here where she first heard Kizomba music. She instantly loved the new genre, especially since she could hear the zouk influence, reminding her of the French Caribbean sound she grew up listening to on the radio.

She traveled to Portugal to learn Kizomba dancing. It was there that she found out about a Congress for African Dancing. She was asked to promote the event troughout Europe by the organization. Soon she was hosting events in London and promoting events all across Europe, and later would go on to do so for events in the U.S. and Brazil.

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A few years ago, Marie made her first visit to Cape Verde, on the island of Sal. It was already part of group travel, for an organization hosting a dancing holiday there. However she says that there was something missing: "There would be little to no interaction with the locals. The places we went to did not play any music by artists like Tito Paris or Cesaria Evora."

"It was by chance that I got to travel to São Vicente. On my second visit my flight schedule got changed and so I had a few days on the island. As soon as I arrived in Mindelo, I knew this was the place for my own cultural and dancing holidays Spirit of Cape Verde."

"Spirit of Cape Verde is all about the rich Cape Verdean culture and connecting people. I see it as an introduction to Cape Verde, and all the country has to offer. We do see people return to Cape Verde by themselves because they connected with the country. By organizing various events where we bring locals and visitors together we add much more value to the entire experience for everyone who is involved."

"For example, having to see a Mandinga show and young Cape Verdean girls dancing very traditional dances made a lasting impression on everyone in the group.

Our events have accessible prices, and we also host events that have no entrance fee to make it accessible for everyone to attend. The focus is on spending time together: the people that travels with me and the Cape Verdeans, dancing, exchanging, connecting."

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Just like last year Spirit of Cape Verde has a visit planned to the Sonvela Arte project in the Ribeira Bote neighborhood. "Our partnership with Sonvela comes from a feeling of wanting to give back. I have been so lucky to enjoy Cape Verdean culture, music and dance. There is not a day that goes by that I don't listen to Cape Verdean music. The visit to Ribeira Bote for us is a priveledge, not something we feel obligated to do.

I am so looking forward to go back this year and to see how it has progressed."

"I remember a visit to a community we organized just outside Espargos, on the island of Sal. We had to do it ourselves because the touroperator would not take us. I remember the joy of that day, but also the need people had. I was beautiful to see that the supplies we had brought were being shared immediately.

This visit also had a big impact on the people that were part of our group."

"One woman of the group decided to donate all her clothes and after the trip wrote a thank you note to say it changed her perspective on life and that she wanted to do more for other people."

Spirit of Cape Verde will be in Mindelo from the 11th of October to the 21st. Fore more info on the event please visit the Spirit of Cape Verde website:

Registration for Spirit of Cape Verde 2018 is now open, and a 2nd destination will be added soon.

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