Cape Verdean Music

Cape Verdean Music – 1

Cape Verdean Music

Morna

Morna is the most popular music genre in Cape Verde, one of its main representatives is the international superstar Cesaria Evora. The lyrics are generally sung in Creole, and reflect highly variable themes such as love, patriotism and even mourning.

The vocalists sing accompanied by a guitar, violin and piano. Cavaquinho (similar to a ukulele), a Portuguese instrument, is also quite common.

Cape Verdean Music
Cesária Évora

It’s believed to have originated in Boa Vista. Eugénio Tavares is one of the most influential composers. This musical style was extended to São Vicente, and some composers such as B. Leza and Manuel de Novas popularized it.

In the 1930s, Morna evolved into the coladeira, which is a happier and funnier genre, with very sensual rhythms. Some of the most important artists are: Código di dona, Manuel de Novas, Frank Cavaquim, Djosa Marques and Os Tubarões.

Morna proclaimed Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO

Morna was proclaimed on 10 December 2019 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations (UN) for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO).

Cape Verdean Music

The final decision on the ratification of the classification, which had already received the endorsement of the committee of experts in November, was adopted at the 14th annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO, which has been held since Monday at the Centro de Congressos Agora, in Bogotá, Colombia.

Funaná

Funana is a genre based on the Santiago accordion. Since the independence of Cape Verde, groups such as Bulimundo appeared that adapted it to the audience listening to pop music. Finaçon combined funana with coladeira in a fusion called funacola.

As for the origin of this music, Emanuel Antero Veiga points to 1902 as the first year in which the accordion was heard in Cape Verde. A decade later the first accordion dances were performed in the area of Achada de Bentrero and surroundings (island of Santiago), cattle and goat grazing areas. Another hypothesis as for its implantation, points out to the Catholic Church, of strong presence during the Portuguese colonization, that introduced the diatonic accordion in the archipelago for the religious ceremonies, due to the lack of organ, much more expensive and difficult to transport.

As for how the term ‘funaná’ was born, there are several versions. A legend says that funaná comes from a man called Funa, who played the accordion accompanied by the ferrinho of his wife, called Naná. Others point to the use of the word fungá from Brazil or fungagá (Portugal), with the meaning of ordinary or insignificant philharmonic. Horário Santos points out that the word funaná was used for a long time with a pejorative and selective sense for accordion dances (SANTOS, 1985, p. 9). And there is another hypothesis defended by Veiga according to which funaná is simply an onomatopoeia, imitating the sound of the accordion. In any case, at a certain moment the funaná ceased to have a negative connotation and was definitively consecrated.

Cape Verdean Music

In the historical route of the funaná, from before the 70’s up to the present time four stages are distinguished. At first, the funaná is originally played with accordion (bagpipe) and ferro or ferrinho, an instrument consisting of a metal bar that marks the rhythm when rubbed with another metal object. This style is linked to the interior of the island of Santiago, being belittled in the colonial period by the urban population, because then the prevailing taste of the public preferred Brazilian music and morna, being relegated the accordion dance or ‘badju di gaita’ to the interior rural areas. In the other islands, given the difficulties in communications and transport and, with a rare exception, would not be known until the 1970s.

In the 1980s, the funaná became a fully-fledged musical genre. In this second period, after the incipient independence, one lives the valorization of traditions and popular arts, of reafricanization of mentality: the groups of batuko and tabanka of the island of Santiago, gain visibility and recognition, the treated subject matter is African and the language used as vehicle is the Cape Verdean Creole. In this context, the group Bulimundo, whose composer and leader is Katchás (Carlos Alberto Martins), makes funaná the main course of its repertoire and adapts the rhythm of the ferrinho to the drums, using the keyboards for the melody and the guitar and other innovative instruments in these lides.

The third period begins in the 90’s: the accordion emerges strongly as a solo instrument accompanied by the ferrinho, bass, drums and guitar. A new vein is discovered, the group Ferro Gaita, with its first album in 1988, marks the new trend that will be followed by several groups and interpreters.

Cape Verdean Music

Finally, in the mid-90s, the fourth period begins to take shape, which continues to this day: the acceleration of rhythm, which began with Bulimundo and intensified with Ferro Gaita, continues the trend. This period is also characterized by the mixture with other styles, such as zouk and the introduction of electronic sounds (keyboards and drums) from digital technology. The dance becomes individual, when it had always been a couple dance, highlighting an acceleration in the bars, from Bulimundo, who were the first to step on the accelerator going from 138 to 153 bars per minute, although in recent times it has reached 175.

Batuque

Originally it was an improvised music with satirical and critical lyrics. In the 1980s, Orlando Pantera created the “Nueva Batuque”, he died in 2001 before completing his creative work. Some performers and composers are: Pantera, Vadu, Cheka, Mayra Andrade, Lura, Zeca di nha Reinalda.

Formerly the word batuque was used by the Portuguese in reference to any musical expression or dance by slaves and has remained, with different meanings, until today in areas of Latin America.

It is the oldest musical genre in the archipelago and has been documented since the 18th century.

Cape Verdean Music

It is characterized for being the only polyrhythmic style (binary on ternary) of the islands. It is not polyphonic, it is danced in a circle and follows the call-response structure. It integrates different expressions such as instrumental music, singing, and dance, which in their beginnings were happening in different phases. In a very synthetic way, they would be the following ones: introduction of cimboa, an ancient monochord violin of African origin, with the accompaniment of tchabeta and palmas; sambuna, music and dance of a ludic nature; lathe, dance with hip movements; finaçao, improvised songs, performed by the same batucadeiras, with a social theme based on proverbs and with a moralizing character; and tchabeta, a word that here refers to the high point of the interpretation where volume and intensity are increased playing in unison.

As we can see, the instrumentation in its initial form was simple: cimboa, tchabeta and palmas. The interpreters were arranged in the form of a circle, in the middle of which the cantadeira entered, making movements of the body, hips and legs, until it was replaced by another in the dance and song. Initially it was interpreted in a spontaneous and playful way, as a form of coexistence and neighbourly relation, as well as in special occasions, as baptisms, weddings or days of saints. Predominantly female practice, but not exclusively.

The evolution of the batuque is linked to social changes, their implications, and their alterations. The playful batuque gave way to the political, and then to the commercial.

Today the batuque retains part of its essence, and its messages continue to be transmitted, either in a village in Santiago or on the YouTube screen.

Videos

Morna

Cesaria Evora – Xandinha

Funaná

Funana “Berdeana”-Manu di Tarrafal- Isaac Barbosa&Joana Pinheiro, in Miami Beach Kizomba Festival

Batuque

Cape Verdean Dance – Traditional Batuque