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The coladeira (Portuguese pronunciation: [kulɐˈdejɾɐ]; Cape Verdean Creole: koladera, [kolɐˈdeɾɐ]) is a music genre from Cape Verde.

As a music genre[edit]

As a music genre the coladeira is characterized by having a variable tempo, from allegro to andante, a 2-beat bar,[1] and in its most traditional form by having an harmonic structure based in a cycle of fifths, while the lyrics structure is organized in strophes that alternate with a refrain. The coladeira is almost always monotonic,[2] i.e. composed in just one tonality. Compositions that use more than a tonality are rare and generally they are cases of passing from a minor to major tonality or vice-versa.

Harmonic structure[edit]

As it was said before, in its most traditional form the coladeira follows a cycle of fifths. This characteristic is a direct heritage from the morna (check main article — morna). Even so, many composers (especially more recent ones) do not always use this structure.

Melodic structure[edit]

Also in the melodic line one can find characteristics similar to the morna (check main article — morna), for example the alternation between the main strophes and the refrain, the sweeping melodic line, the syncopation, etc. has changed it a little.


Generally, the subjects that the coladeira talks about are satires, social criticism, jokes and playful and happy themes. According to C. Gonçalves,[3] the original themes of the Boa Vista morna were precisely these ones. But after the thematic change in the passage from the Boa Vista morna to the Brava morna, the emerging genre coladeira would have taken over the initial thematic of the Boa Vista morna. These themes remind the mediaeval escárnio e maldizer songs from Portugal.


The composition of a group for playing the coladeira is not rigid. A medium-sized band may include besides a guitar (popularly called “violão” in Cape Verde) a cavaquinho (that plays the chords rhythmically), a solo instrument besides the singer’s voice and some percussion. A bigger band may include another guitar, an acoustic bass guitar, more than one solo instrument (a violin — popularly called “rabeca” in Cape Verde —, a clarinet, a trumpet, etc.) and several percussion instruments (a shaker, a güiro, a cowbell, congas, etc.).

The specific way of strumming the strings in a guitar is popularly called “mãozada” in Cape Verde. The strumming of the coladeira articulates a bass (played with the thumb, marking the beats) with chords (played with the other fingers, rhythmically).

From the 60’s it starts to happen the electrification of the coladeira, in which the percussion instruments are replaced by a drum kit and the bass / accompaniment play performed in the guitar is replaced by a bass guitar and an electric guitar. From the 80’s there is a big scale usage of electronic instruments (synthesizers, drum machines), being that usage much appreciated by some and criticized by others. In the late 90’s there is a come back to the roots where unplugged (acoustic) performances are sought after again.

In its most traditional form, the song starts by an introduction played in the soloist instrument (having this intro generally the same melody as the refrain), and then the song develops in an alternation between the main strophes and the refrain. Approximately after the middle of the song, instead of the sung refrain, the soloist instrument performs an improvisation. Recent composers, however, do not always use this sequence.

As a dance[edit]

As a dance, the coladeira is a ballroom dance, danced in pairs. The performers dance with an arm embracing the partner, while with the other arm they hold hands. The dancing is made through two body swings and shoulder undulations to one side, marking the rhythm’s beats of the bar, while in the next bar the swinging is made to the other side.

The footwork is a basic side-tap, side-tap. For example, the left foot moves to the left with a weight-shift to the left foot. The right foot then 'taps' (touching the floor without weight-shift) next to the left foot. This is followed by the same movement to the other side: the right foot moves back to the right with a weigh-shift to the right foot, and the left foot comes back to tap beside the right.[4]


1st period[edit]

The word koladera meant initially the act of going out and singing the colá. Accordingly to the oral tradition,[5] a new musical genre would have appeared in the 30’s when the composer Anton’ Tchitch’ would have intentionally speeded up the tempo of a morna. Someone in the crowd would have shout “já Bocê v’rá-’l n’um coladêra” (you have transformed it in a coladeira), i.e., a morna performed with the tempo and as lively as a koladera. Technically, the coladeira appeared as a division of the notes length of the morna to half, through the acceleration of the tempo.

Little by little, this new musical genre gained consolidation, absorbing several musical influences, mostly from Brazilian music. From S. Vicente this musical genre passed to the other islands, appearing then two schools,[3] each one with its own style: one in Barlavento, centered in Mindelo, and another in Sotavento, centered in Praia.

2nd period[edit]

From the 50’s some innovations start to appear in the coladeira, similar to the ones that appeared with the morna. It is in this period that electric instruments began to be used, and the coladeira begins to get known internationally, either by performances abroad, either by records production. The coladeira kept on receiving influences from abroad, for example from Brazilian music but also from Anglo-Saxon music. In the 70’s, with the appearance of movements against the colonialism and relations with socialist countries, other influences came along, for example Latin-American music (konpa, rumba, salsa, cumbia) and African music (specially from Angola and Guinea-Bissau).

In terms of musical structure, the coladeira goes on slowly losing the traits that use to identify it with the morna. It is also in this period that the dichotomy morna \ coladeira establishes itself.

3rd period[edit]

From the 80s one can notice the strong compas influence in Cape Verdean music. Cape Verdeans artists have been exposed to konpa in the USA and France. During the 70s-80s Haitian artists and bands such as Claudette & Ti Pierre, Tabou Combo and mostly Gesner Henry alias Coupe Cloue and Dominican cadence bands such as Grammacks and Exile One were very popular in Africa. In addition, kassav and many French Antillean musicians, which main music is compas toured Cabo island in various occasions. Many Cape Verdean artists feature compas music. talented Tito Paris "dança mami Criola" 1994, is a good example. This CD featured music close to Haiti Tabou Combo, Caribbean Sextet, Tropicana and French Antilles Kassav', etc.[6] Today the new generation of Cabo Verde artists features a light konpa close to the Haitian and French Antillean digital compas.

Variants of the coladeira[edit]

In spite of being a relatively recent musical genre, the coladeira has already some variants.

Rhythmic model of the coladeira, 106~120 bpm.

The proper coladeira[edit]

Being a derivative of the morna, it is natural that the coladeira shares some characteristics with the former, as the harmonic sequence, the verse structure and a varied and syncopated melodic line. According to J. Monteiro,[5] the true coladeira is the one that results from a morna. So, if the morna is normally played with a 60 bpm tempo, the coladeira should have a 120 bpm tempo. However, this is not always the case.

That is due to the presence of two opposite styles[3] in the 50’s of this variant of the coladeira, that correspond to the preference of certain composers: the “Ti Goy style[3] has a slower tempo (moderato), a simpler melodic line, the traditional 3 chords series, the use of rhymes and a more sarcastic thematic; the “Tony Marques style[3] has a quicker tempo (allegro), a melody well adapted to the rhythmics, a richer chord progression with passing chords, and a more varied thematic.

Later, these two styles influenced each other, and the compositions from the 60’s are a blend of the two preceding styles.

In this variant of the coladeira the bass line marks the beats of the bar.

Rhythmic model of the slow coladeira, ± 96 bpm.

The slow coladeira[edit]

The lundum[disambiguation needed] is a musical genre that was once in vogue in Cape Verde. Nowadays this genre is not known anymore. In Boa Vista it subsists,[7] not as a musical genre but as a specific song played in weddings.

However, the lundum has not disappeared completely. Besides the transformation of the lundum to the morna (check the main article — morna), the lundum went on absorbing external elements, for instance, from the Brazilians bossa nova and samba-canção, and later from the emerging genre coladeira. Today, this variant is more known as slow coladeira, and it has also been known as toada or contratempo. Due to some analogies with the bossa nova it occasionally called cola-samba or “sambed” coladeira. It is a variant of the coladeira with a slower tempo (andante), simpler structure than the morna, the rhythmic accentuation of the melody is on the first beat and the last half-beat of the bar. Perhaps the most internationally known example of this variant of coladeira is the song “sodade” performed by Cesária Évora.

In this variant of coladeira the bass line marks the first and the last quarter-beats of the bar.

Examples of coladeiras[edit]

  • Coladeira
    • “Saud’”, traditional
      performed by Nancy Vieira in the album “Segred” (ed. HM Música, Lisboa — 2004)
    • “Tchapeu di padja”, from Jorge Barbosa
      performed by Simentera in the album “Cabo Verde em serenata” (ed. Mélodie, Paris — 2000)
    • “Intentaçon d'Carnaval” from Tony Marques
      performed by Mité Costa and Djosinha in the album “Cabo Verde canta CPLP” (reed. A. R. Machado, Lisboa, Ref: CD-005/07 — 19??)
    • “Teresinha” from Ti Goi
      performed by Bana in the album ? (ed. Discos Monte Cara — 19??)
    • “C’mê catchorr’” from Manuel de Novas
      performed by Manecas Matos in the album Lamento de um Emigrante (ed. ?, ? — 1986)
    • “Bêju cu jêtu” from Réné Cabral
      performed by Cabral & Cabo Verde Show in the album “Bêju cu jêtu” (ed. Syllart, ?, Ref: CD 38778-2 — 19??)
    • “Paródia familiar” from Alcides Spencer Brito
      performed by Ildo Lobo in the album “Incondicional” (ed. Lusáfrica, Paris — 2004)
  • Slow coladeira
    • “Curral ca tem capód’”, traditional
      performed by Djalunga in the album “Amor fingido” (ed. Lusárica, Paris — 2000)
    • “Sodade” from Armando Zeferino Soares
      performed by Cesária Évora in the album “Miss Perfumado” (ed. Lusáfrica, Paris — 1992)
    • “Cabo Verde, poema tropical” from Miquinha
      performed by Paulino Vieira in the album “Cabo Verde, Poema tropical” from Quirino do Canto (ed. ?, ? — 1985)
    • “Nha Codê”, from Pedro Cardoso
      performed by Simentera in the album “Raiz” (ed. Mélodie, Paris — 1995)
    • “Apocalipse” from Manuel de Novas
      performed by Dudú Araújo in the album “Nha visão” (ed. Sons d’África — 199?)
  • Cola-zouk
    • “Rosinha” from Jorge Neto
      performed by Livity in the album “Harmonia” (ed. ?, ? — 19??)
    • “Si m’ sabeba” from Beto Dias
      performed by Beto Dias in the album ? (ed. ?, ? — 19??)
    • “Bye-bye, my love” from Gil Semedo
      performed by Gil & The Perfects in the album “Separadu” (ed. GIVA, ? — 1993)
    • “Tudu ta fica” from Djoy Delgado
      performed by Unimusicabo in the album “Help Fogo” (ed. MESA Pro, ? — 1995)
    • “Tudu pa bô” from Suzanna Lubrano
      performed by Suzanna Lubrano in the album “Tudu pa bô” (ed. ?, ? — 2003)


  1. ^ Brito, M., Breves Apontamentos sobre as Formas Musicais existentes em Cabo Verde — 1998
  2. ^ Sousa, P.e J. M. de, Hora di Bai — Capeverdean American Federation, Boston, 1973
  3. ^ a b c d e Gonçalves, C. F., Kab Verd Band — 2006
  4. ^ based on demonstration
  5. ^ a b Monteiro, J., Mornas e Contra-Tempos (Coladeiras de Cabo Verde) — Ed. do Autor, Mindelo, 1987
  6. ^ Pintade, Wikipedia
  7. ^ Lima, A. G., A dança do landu (Dos antigos reinos do Kongo e de Ngola à Boa Vista)

External links[edit]