Morna is by 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. It is related to Portuguese fado and its close cousin, Brazilian modinha. 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.
Aside from Évora, popular morna musicians include Ildo Lobo, Titina, Celina Pereira, Bana, Djosinha, B. Leza, Travadinha, Sãozinha and Maria Alice.
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.
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.
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 Pantera, Vadú, Tcheka, Mayra Andrade, Lura, Zeca di nha Reinalda.
Coladeira is a form of dance and music from Cape Verde.
Zouk is a style of rhythmic music originating from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Zouk means ‘party’ in the local creole of French with English and African influences, all three of which contribute the sound. In Europe, it is particularly popular in France, while on the African islands of Cape Verde they have developed their own type of Zouk.
As it was said before, from the 80’s there is a strong influence from the zouk in Cape Verdian music. There has been fusion of the zouk with the coladeira, to what several names have been given as cola-dance, cola-zouk, cabo-swing, cabo-love, etc. Cabo-zouk (from the islands’ Kriolu name Cabo Verde), cola-zouk (from coladeira), or cabo-love (from zouk-love, the slowed down and sexed up zouk variant).
Cape Verdian zouk musicians include, singer and Kora Award winner Suzanna Lubrano, Frank de Pina, Mendes Brothers (and their influential record label, MB Records), Saozinha, Creole Sextet and Rui Pina.
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.
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