Music of Cape Verde

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Cape Verde is known internationally for morna, a form of folk music usually sung in the Cape Verdean Creole, accompanied by clarinet, violin, guitar and cavaquinho. Funaná, Coladeira, Batuque and Cabo love are other musical forms.


Cape Verde is an island archipelago that was uninhabited until the Portuguese arrived in 1462. The sailors brought with them African slaves, and the islands' population became mixed with elements of both races. Climate conditions made the islands inhospitable, and the Portuguese governments mostly ignored the inhabitants and the frequent droughts and famines that wracked the islands periodically. As a result, there are now more Cape Verdeans abroad than at home, and sizable communities exist in New England, Portugal, Wales, Senegal, Italy, France and the Netherlands.

In 2011, it would be one of the most recent countries to have its own music award, the Cabo Verde Music Awards was established and awards the greatest songs of the year by Cape Vedean artists (and those of abroad).

Folk music[edit]


Morna is by far the most popular genre of Cape Verdean music, and it has produced an international superstar in Cesária Évora. Morna is a national song-style, like Argentinian tango, beloved by Cape Verdeans across the many islands of the country. Lyrics are usually in Creole, and reflect highly-variable themes, including love and lust, patriotism and mourning.

Morna is believed to have originated on Boa Vista as a cheerful song-type. Eugénio Tavares was an influential songwriter of the period, and his songs are still extensively performed. Morna also spread to São Vicente, and composers like B. Leza and Manuel de Novas became popular. Solo vocalists are accompanied by a guitar, violin, bass guitar) and a piano. The cavaquinho (similar to a ukulele), a Portuguese instrument, is also common.

In the 1930s, Morna evolved in a swifter form of music called coladeira. It is a more light-hearted and humorous genre, with sensual rhythms. Performers include Codé di Dona, Manuel de Novas, Frank Cavaquim, Djosa Marques and Os Tubarões.

Aside from Évora, popular morna musicians include Ildo Lobo, Titina, Celina Pereira, Bana, Djosinha, B. Leza, Travadinha, Sãozinha, Maria Alice, Carmen Souza and Gardénia Benros.


Funaná is an accordion-based genre from Santiago. Prior to independence, funaná was denigrated by colonial authorities, who considered it African. Since independence, however, bands like Bulimundo adapted the music for pop audiences and Finaçon, who combined funaná and coladeira into a fusion called funacola. Other group includes Paris-based La MC Malcriado


Batuque is also popular in Cape Verde. Originally a woman's folk music, batuque is an improvised music with strong satirical or critical lyrics. In the 80's, Orlando Pantera has created the "new batuco" (neo-batuku), but he died in 2001 before to achieve his creative work. Performers and songwriters are Orlando Pantera, Vadú, Tcheka, Mayra Andrade, Lura, Zeca di nha Reinalda.


Coladeira is a form of dance and music from Cape Verde. Singers and musicians includes Nancy Vieira, the band Simentera, Mité Costa, Bana, Manecas Matos, Cabral & Cabo Verde Show, Ildo Lobo, Djalunga, Paulino Vieira, Dudú Araújo, Beto Dias and Suzanna Lubrano

Popular music[edit]


Main article: Coladeira

The musical style Coladeira originating from the Cape Verde islands is a derivative of Compas, promoted by French Antilles artists as zouk mixed with the coladeira and other Cape verdian rhythms. There has been a fusion of the zouk love with the coladeira, to which several names have been given, such as cola-dance, cola-zouk, cabo-swing, Cabo love, etc. In this variant, the rhythm has the same accentuation as the compas, the instrumentation is also copied from the zouk, the accentuation of the melody line is different, the syncopation is made in other contexts and the melody line is less continuous than the traditional coladeira, with breaks.

There are many Cape Verdeans living abroad, especially in the United States, where they are concentrated in California, Hawaii and throughout New England, especially Rhode Island and Boston. Many came on whaling ships in the 19th century. Their music included string bands like The B-29s, Notias, Augusto Abrio and the Cape Verdean Serenaders. There were also Cape Verdean big bands, including the Creole Vagabonds and the Don Verdi Orchestra.

Hip hop[edit]

Hip hop is also a growing trend in Cape Verdean music both inside Cape Verde and those abroad. The music genre started outside Cape Verde and has gained popularity inside Cape Verde, several of the artists are based outside Cape Verde and the Capeverdean communities abroad including Portugal, France, Angola and the Netherlands. Rappers include Boss AC, others including Jacky Brown and Stomy Bugsy from France, Angolan born Elizio and of the Netherlands Nelson Freitas.

Other music[edit]

Cape Verde has also symphonic music along with instrumental music, the most famous being Vasco Martins, he made Cape Verde's first symphonies, also it was one of westernmost Africa's first symphonists. He made eight symphonies including the fourth symphony titled Buddha Dharma, the sixth relating to Monte Verde, São Vicente's tallest point.

Most of the symphonies have African elements.

See also[edit]