Proud to be Cape Verdean: A Look at Cape Verdeans in the Golden State

Mike Costa’s new film features a look at the Cape Verdean community in California featuring music by The Mendes Brothers and Narration by Michael Beach.
Los Angeles, CA, May 04, 2012 –(– Mike Costa’s new film, “Proud to be Cape Verdean: A Look at Cape Verdeans in the Golden State is a documentary that will capture the essence of the Cape Verdean culture in California through an insightful look at individuals and organizations and their desire to maintain their cultural identity. This film will highlight the unique Californian, the Cape Verdean, whose distinct classification of African and European roots will present them as a robust ingredient in the “Melting Pot” we call America. The Mendes Brothers John & Ramiro will provide the music. Actor/Producer Michael beach will offer his voice talents as Narrator.

The writer/producer/director of the film, Mike Costa, has been a Professional writer for over 15 years and is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America. His many credits include, Roseanne, The Steve Harvey Show, In the House and The Gregory Hines Show. His interest and experience in documentary film making has resulted in collaborative works with other Cape Verdean film makers.

This one-hour documentary will offer oral histories in conjunction with interviews, photographs and re-enactments that will accurately depict the transition of small family gatherings where Cape Verdeans shared their love of their cuisine and music grew, inspired and eventually shaped the formation of non-profit Cape Verdean organizations dedicated to sustaining the legacy of their racially and linguistically rich culture while maintaining a strong connection to their East Coast ties as well as their home country of Cape Verde. Experts such as Gina Sanchez-Gibau, PhD, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Indiana University/IUPUI, James Lopes, noted Cape Verdean Genealogist, the world famous musicians, The Mendes Brothers are featured.

This has been a collaborative effort of the entire California Cape Verdean community. The one hour completed film plans to have its world premiere in 2012 in California.

Solar Solution: Daily Allowance of Energy Powers Cape Verde Village

Just recently, the Cape Verde village of Monte Trigo experienced its first 24 hours of electricity. The 60-family community is only reachable by boat and is completely dependent on fishing and its trade with nearby villages. The need for ice to preserve fish is vital, and villagers must travel five-hour by boat to purchase it.

A reliable and clean source of energy was needed to enable sustainable and affordable electricity. It would not only provide basic needs like lighting, communication and community services, but also be useful for ice production.

With the support of the ACP-EU Energy Facility programme, local groups responded to help finance and develop an off-grid solar energy project. The installation includes a rural multi-user solar micro-grid with a photovoltaic generator mounted on a special wooden pergola. The pergola also provides shade to the village’s schoolyard.

The needs of the village are supplied with standard electricity of 230V, 50Hz AC delivered through an 800m aerial distribution line to 60 users including households, one school, a church, a kindergarten, a health centre, a satellite TV dish centre, three general stores and 22 street lights.

Studer Innotec contributed with technical know-how, supporting Trama TecnoAmbiental (TTA), the designers of the facility, in accomplishing this original solution where two micro-grids share excess energy. Their Xtender inverter-chargers allowed a flexible management of the system’s energy production and consumption.

The 214 A-130P modules (each containing 36 polycrystalline cells) were supplied byATERSA, that also designed the pergola to aid the installation of the modules and supplied the batteries, regulators, converters and all the structures required for installation of the system.

The PV micro power plant can produce an average of 74kWh per day. Part of this energy is consumed during the daytime and part is stored in batteries with a capacity of about 370 kWh for night-time consumption. The old 20kVA generator can be used as a backup burning expensive diesel fuel, so it is essential that users understand the implications of their behaviour on the electricity service and cost.

Batteries with 370 kWh capacity for energy storage Batteries with 370 kWh capacity for energy storage

In the initial phase of the project, TTA interviewed users to assess their energy needs and their willingness to pay for the 24 hour service. Then the concept of Energy Daily Allowance (EDA) was introduced.

The EDA makes the demand-management more intelligent and flexible by capping the power and energy available to each user to an agreed maximum. This ensures the plant operates within its rated design and prevents black outs or unforeseen increases in operating costs because of higher back-up diesel fuel consumption. This limit is, nevertheless, flexible, depending on the plant’s condition. On very sunny days users may make use of the surplus generation at no extra cost.  Each family chose their EDA from five possible options:

Energy demand type Energy Daily Allowance [Wh/day] Power limit [kW]
Very Low 825 0,55
Low 1100 0,55
Medium 1650 1,10
High 2200 1,10
Very High 3300 1,65

EDA tariff options

Tariff collection is based on fixed monthly fees related to the contracted EDA and sustains operation and maintenance activities and pays back part of the capital costs. Users are very happy with this scheme because it allows them to have an energy budget cost that they can count on.

The implementation is done through a special type of meter – called an electricity dispenser – that permanently shows the available energy allowance and provides a signal to encourage or prevent consumption, according to the plant’s condition.

Major changes are already shaping the life of this community: one user already has bought his first refrigerator. It is expected that with the two ice machines, capable of up to 500 kg/day production using peak-of-the-day, surplus generation will improve the commercial activity which sustains the village’s economy.

Written by Simon Rolland, Secretary General of the Alliance for Rural Electrification.


Cape Verde

Four hundred and fifty kilometres off the west coast of Africa you’ll find the Atlantic archipelago of Cape Verde – a cluster of tropical islands that for centuries were popular with seafarers and slave traders travelling between Europe, Africa and the Americas.  Over the years, development has been slow, but since gaining independence in 1975, foreign money has been invested and tourist infrastructure has improved.  With the additional bonus of year round sunshine, Cape Verde is attracting European holidaymakers and now with direct flights from the UK, word is spreading – Cape Verde is one of the hottest new must-see destinations.


Sal was the first island in the archipelago to erupt from the sea over fifteen million years ago and it’s where I headed to get my first taste of the islands.  When budgeting for a holiday in the current economic climate it makes great sense to go all-inclusive, especially on an island that’s still relatively undeveloped.   I therefore opted for an all-inclusive break at Hotel Melia Tortuga.    The majority of hotels on the island are in and around Santa Maria, the main tourist area.   The Melia Tortuga is a good  hour and half walk along the beach to Santa Maria (be sure to try it at least once, you’ll welcome the exercise to walk of the excess pounds you’ll no doubt gain from all the delicious food on offer) or alternatively it’s  a 10 minute 3  euro taxi ride.  By being slightly apart and smaller than the large Rio hotel along the coast, with two pools and beautiful landscaped gardens, the hotel has an air of exclusivity about it.  If you’re looking to just literally fly and flop, gaze over the turquoise Atlantic Ocean whilst soaking up the guaranteed year round sunshine then it’s the perfect choice of hotel. For someone more used to action packed holidays, I surprised myself how   easily I adapted to the quieter routine.  As most of the island’s attractions can be seen in half a day, you’ll be spending a lot of time within the hotel and it therefore makes perfect sense to base yourself somewhere so aesthetically pleasing, peaceful and relaxing.  Most of the guests I talked to welcomed the ability to just do nothing and with a flight time of only 6 hours from the UK, it’s a great alternative to the Canaries as a winter sun break.


The hotel has 271 suites, apartments and villas.   My 2 bedroom suite was particularly spacious, styled with contemporary furnishings and had the added bonus of a large flat screen satellite TV in both the lounge and master bedroom.  The resort also has 3 & 4 bedroomed detached beach front villas with their own private garden and plunge pool.   For the spa enthusiast, the YHI spa offers a range of treatments and a thermal circuit including a sauna, steam bath, essence shower, sensations show, colour and contrast show and pediluvio.  I’m afraid I have no idea what the latter is as I was too busy doing my daily laps in the choice of two large pools.  Of these, one is livelier with an adjoining swim up bar and music and the other is slightly smaller and quieter.  There’s also a children’s pool.


Typical of an all inclusive, there’s a good selection of restaurants, so you can alternate lunch and dinner in different venues, the O Grille Beach Club bar and Grill being particularly popular at lunchtime.  It’s a great setting and has recently been voted one of the best bars in the world by CNN’s travel website, Global Experiences.


Sal is an island that is best enjoyed by beach lovers.  The pristine white sand beaches rival any of those found in the Caribbean and literally go on for miles.    In fact with a blend of African, Brazilian and Portuguese cultures, Cape Verde has been dubbed the African Caribbean (but without the hurricanes).   There’s no denying that Sal’s beaches are its biggest USP.    However, the island’s once mountainous topography has been whittled down by gusty Saharan winds and any vegetation has been obliterated.  At first glance the barren interior can be a tad depressing, it’s not as green as the name implies.   None the less, there’s still some impressive sights to see and it’s well worth doing the island tour.


Sal was discovered by the Portuguese in 1460 who named their new territorial gain Llana, which means ‘flat’.  It wasn’t until some time later, when salt was uncovered at the lake at Pedra de Lume, that its name was changed to Sal, meaning ‘salt’.


Pedra de Lume is a definite highlight of the island tour.  The salt lake is situated inside a long extinct volcano and if you’ve not been to the Dead Sea a swim or float in its shallow waters makes for an interesting experience.  The lake water is twenty six times saltier than sea water with saliency levels on a par with those found in the Dead Sea.  It’s therefore not difficult to get the requisite reading a newspaper whilst floating shot.  There’s a shower where you can wash of all the caked salt and a small café.  It’s a very atmospheric place, especially with the backdrop of the volcano and long abandoned conveyor system to transport the salt from the mine to the small port below.


Along with stunning beaches, Sal’s other claim to fame is wind.  The steady ocean breezes have made Sal one of the top places in the world for kite and windsurfing.  So although you might not get to enjoy swimming in the sea, the Atlantic rollers making it too rough, the breeze is a welcome respite from the heat and the champion surfers leaping off the waves make for a spectacular sight.


The slow pace of life on Sal grows on you and for city dwellers used to a frantic way of life there’s something very appealing about just lazing on the sand and relaxing by the pool.    If you’re looking for a first class, friendly and all inclusive hotel in a year round sun and sand destination that’s just a little different then the Melia Tortuga Beach on Sal in the Cape Verde Islands comes highly recommended.


Cape Verde: African Good News Story

The remarkable economic and political progress of Cape Verde is seen as a blueprint for the rest of Africa, writes BBC Today programme presenter Evan Davis after a visit to the tiny island state.

I have to admit, I couldn’t have told you three interesting facts about Cape Verde until I was asked to go there for the Today programme.

I didn’t know where it was – 570km (354 miles) off the coast of West Africa. I didn’t even know how to pronounce its name.

And then I found myself sent there on a three-day mission to investigate a startling story: That sub-Saharan Africa is not just a region of starving children and warring dictators.

The assignment was at the behest of guest editor Mo Ibrahim who strongly feels that the Western media portrays Africa in a monotonously negative light. Could that really be true?

Well, my ignorance of how to pronounce Cape Verde’s name is forgivable. (I’m still not sure and have heard it pronounced with and without an “ee” at the end of Verde.)

But is it forgivable that I didn’t know it is one of only a handful of countries ever to have been promoted out of the UN “least developed nation” category (up to “middle income country” status)? And that it is a well-functioning democracy with government alternating between different political parties?

I should have known these things, and I’m glad to say that my three-day trip more or less confirmed them.

a girl leans on some boxes
Young Cape Verdeans can expect far better education than their parents

Contrary to the impression you might have had of African nations, here is one where democracy flourishes; where a president stepped down after two terms in office because that is what the constitution required (take note Mr Putin) and where the opposition freely criticises the government.

It is a country where economic growth has been strong, where literacy is almost universal and two-thirds of the population have a phone.

It is also a country that beats many EU countries in the Transparency International Corruptions Perceptions Index.

Now on a three-day trip, you cannot verify all these assertions but you can get a clear impression.

I went to a square in the capital, Praia, where I saw a dozen young people poring over their laptops, taking advantage of the free wi-fi available in that and other squares.

I saw a tourism training college that had been paid for by Luxembourg’s aid programme. It functioned well, there were real students there and no money had gone missing into a Swiss bank account.

I spoke to the founder of a small e-business called Prime Consulting, who spoke highly of the ease with which new business could be established in the country (it takes ten minutes he said).

Property bubbles

These facts – and my lack of awareness of them – suggest there may be something in Mo Ibrahim’s point. We know the bad news about Africa, but not the good.

And given the sheer volume of bad that emanates from countries in sub-Saharan Africa, we make generalised assumptions about the entire population of sub-Saharan Africa.

Evan makes use of a free wifi hotspot in Praia
Evan makes use of a free wi-fi hotspot in Praia
Now I don’t want to paint a ludicrously one-dimensionally optimistic view of the country. It is no paradise.

Many people live in slums. The country is covered in them. The national income per head is about a tenth of that of the UK and I didn’t even get out of the towns to see the rural poor.

In addition, some of the recent economic growth appears to have occurred on the back of a ridiculous holiday-property bubble. Irish, British and other investors got overexcited and the result is that many unfinished developments litter the main tourist island of Sal.

But still Cape Verde has come a long way over a short period of time. It is a country that had famines killing tens of thousands of people in the first half of the 20th Century that now worries about property bubbles.

The most telling conversation I had there was with Samira who told me that while her mother had not been to high school (there weren’t enough of them at the time) but she, Samira, now goes to university.

It is true that Cape Verde is an unusual off-shore example, but before dismissing it as the exception that proves the rule that the rest of Africa is beyond help or hope, it is worth taking a look at the statistics for per capita national income growth of sub-Saharan African countries over the last decade: Ghana 104% growth; Mozambique 103%; Rwanda 119%; Sierra Leone 99%; Tanzania 95%; Uganda 81%, to name just a few.

I’m not sure these growth rates have made it through to the public at large.

We wouldn’t want reporters to act as cheer leaders for a continent and we don’t want them to always be seeing glasses as half full. That would perhaps stop us trying fill them to the top.

But if we only ever see half empty glasses, that can be demotivating too. It can nurture a dull fatalism that assumes doing anything is a waste of effort.

So whenever you feel the wearisome drag of compassion fatigue, you can at least remind yourself that Cape Verde does suggest progress in that part of the world is not impossible.


Top Trends for 2012

LONDON, December 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —

When all the turkey has been eaten, the last Christmas cracker pulled and 2011 starts to draw to a close, as well as New Year resolutions, people will start thinking about where to jet off to on their summer holidays.  So where will the Great British public be heading in 2012 and what trends will we see in the travel market? Thomson and First Choice have put together their predictions of what the year ahead will have in store.

Booking trends

Although money will continue to be tight for many households, people will not be willing to forgo their annual break in the sun and would prefer to save in other areas.  While still escaping to the sun, customers will be looking for quality breaks away in 2012, which are unique and offer great value for money.

First Choice expects more holidaymakers to select All Inclusive hotels next summer as people will be looking to have more control of their holiday budget.  First Choice will become the Home of All Inclusive in 2012 as it becomes the first large tour operator to sell 100% All Inclusive holidays, so it should be the first port of call for anyone looking for this type of holiday.

The trend for flexibility will continue, as more holidaymakers will be looking for more 10 and 11 night holidays, as one week is too short or they are concerned about leaving their job for a full two weeks.

Thomson and First Choice also expect to see an increase in demand for their unique holiday concepts such as Sensatori,CouplesFamiliesHoliday Villages and SplashWorld, as Brits look to spend their hard earned cash on a holiday that can’t be found anywhere else.


Traditional Mediterranean getaways are also tipped to be the top hot spots for Summer 2012.  Brits will be flocking to book holidays to the Balearics and mainland Spain, which they know and trust. However, Thomson and First Choice also expect to see a surge in popularity for up and coming destinations like Cape VerdeJamaica and Croatia.  Mexico is also set to be a top choice for 2012, as it offers real luxury in a stunning location at good prices.


There has also been a lot of speculation in the media about Libya having the potential to be a hot tourist spot in the future.Thomson Cruises agrees and it has already been scoping out itineraries that will include ports of call in Libya as well asAlgeria and the Black Sea for Winter 2012/13.

Thomson Cruises also expects to see a very strong demand for cruises departing from the UK next year, particularly with “new to cruise” customers that prefer not to fly and from existing cruisers who live within close proximity to Harwich and Newcastle.  It also predicts there will be a trend for more adventurous and unusual cruises as new and traditional cruisers want to visit some of the least discovered destinations in Europe and North Africa.

Where to go to in 2012

The Balearic Islands: Menorca, Majorca and Ibiza

Traditional Mediterranean destinations such as MenorcaMajorca, and Ibiza have always been a favourite holiday hotspot amongst Brits, and are continuing to become more popular as market volume continues to grow.  Menorca is the perfect spot for anyone looking for a beach holiday, as the island has more beaches than any other island in the Balearics, so there’s a huge emphasis on relaxation.  Majorca has a great variety of things to do, whether it’s partying in Magaluf, or enjoying gorgeous tapas food in Palma, there’s something for everyone.  Ibiza to some may evoke images of wild nights out, however the island has a lot more to offer, such as white sand beaches, a beautiful countryside, and delicious fresh seafood.  Thomson has introduced Thomson Family units in each of the Balearic Islands which are proving to be popular with customers with families.  Thomson Family resorts are designed to keep the whole family happy, and every hotel in the collection has a 4T or 5T rating.

Thomson offers seven night family holidays to Menorca  staying at the 4T Victoria Playa  on an all inclusive basis, from £780  per person, with the first child from £465, and second child from £570. Price is based on a family of four sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 22 August 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.

Thomson offers seven night family holidays to Majorca  staying at the 4T AparthotelAlcudia Pins  on an all inclusive basis, from £899  per person, with the first child from £570, and second child from £655. Price is based on a family of four sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 13 August 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.

Thomson offers seven night family holidays to Ibiza  staying at the 4T Hotel Presidente  on a half board basis, from £690  per person, with the first child from £465, and second child from £570. Price is based on a family of four sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 22 August 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.

Cape Verde

Cape Verde is a particularly new tourist destination but it’s already proving popular as Brits seek to discover these exotic islands.  Cape Verde is made up of ten tiny islands, but the islands of Sal and Boa Vista are the most popular amongst holidaymakers.  The islands are just off the west coast of Africa and comprise of an exotic mix of African, Brazilian, and Portuguese cultures. The secluded islands are natural, un-built upon and beautiful, and you’re guaranteed untouched white beaches.

RIU hotels are popular with customers travelling to Cape Verde, especially the 5T RIU Touareg.

New for the First Choice Summer 2012 programme is the 4Sun OasisSalinasSeas, which is part of the First Choice Premier collection.

Thomson offers seven night holidays to Cape Verde  staying at the 5T RIU Touareg  on an all inclusive basis, from £819  per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 03 May 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.

First Choice offers seven night holidays to Cape Verde, staying at the 4T OasisSalinasSeas, on an all inclusive basis from £839  per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 11 June 2012 and transfers.  To find out more about this holiday or to book visit  or call +44(0)871-200-7799.


Croatia is an up and coming destination for holidaymakers.  Croatia is all about the cafe-lined cobble streets, boats bobbing in harbours and the beautiful countryside.  There are traditional towns, modern holiday resorts, pebbly beaches and charming fishing villages. Croatia is a fabulous destination for anyone who is looking for culture, and there’s something to suit everyone with a great choice of all inclusive hotels, private villas, or self catering apartments.

Thomson offers seven night holidays to Croatia  staying at the 3T Hotel Park  on a half board basis, from £595  per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 05 June 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.


Holidays in Mexico look set to be a big destination for 2012.  Mexico has it all – delicious food, great weather, plenty of excursions day and night, and beautiful beaches.  Mexico is known for its sleek all inclusive beach resorts, so it’s the perfect destination for anyone who wants to relax in luxury.  An extremely popular hotel is the 5T Sensatori Mexico which is the ultimate luxury escape, situated on a beautiful beach it has a lagoon like swimming pool and six gourmet restaurants. Sensatori hotels, which are exclusive to Thomson, are all about the senses and are not only prefect for couples but also have separate child areas and clubs to cater for families.

Thomson offers 14 night holidays to Mexico  staying at the 5T Sensatori Mexico  on an all inclusive basis, from £1519  per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 07 June 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.


Jamaica looks set to be another big destination for 2012 as the Jamaicans get set to takeover London for the Olympics. The Jamaicans are going to be the team to watch during the Olympics thanks to the big personalities on their team and due to the carnival atmosphere they bring to the events.  Thomson thinks that travelers will want to carry on the party after the Olympics by heading over to Jamaica to see where stars like Usain Bolt grew up and train. The atmosphere is sure to be electric in the lead up to the Olympics too, as the island gears up to watch their nation shine!  For Winter 2012 Thomson has new 10 and 11 night duration holidays in Jamaica.  A hotel in Jamaica that’s set to be popular for this summer is the 5T Secrets St. James Montego Bay, which is part of the Thomson Couples collection.

Thomson offers seven night holidays to Jamaica  staying at the 5T Secrets St. James Montego Bay  on an all inclusive basis, from £1479  per person. Price is based on two adults sharing, and includes flights departing from London Gatwick airport on 19 June 2012 and transfers.  To find out more or to book this holiday visit  or call +44(0)871-231-5595.

Programme changes for 2012

As part of the long haul programme for Winter 2012, Thomson has introduced new 10 and 11 night durations in Jamaica and the Maldives.  It extends Thomson’s collection of 10 and 11 night long haul holidays that already includes Florida, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.  Excitingly the first Thomson’s Couples hotel is also being introduced in Aruba for summer 2012, in the form of the 4T BucutiBeach Resort. Prices starting from £1399, this is a romantic retreat set on one of the Caribbean’smost beautiful beaches. Thomson offers the only direct flight to Aruba from the UK.

Thomson Cruises Ex-UK Cruises

For Summer 2012 Thomson Cruises has reintroduced cruises from the UK on Thomson Spirit.  Based in Newcastle from May to July 2012 and Harwich in August and September 2012, customers can simply drive to the port, climb aboard and start enjoying their Thomson cruise without having to fly from the UK. Thomson Spirit will sail 16 different ex-UK itineraries, taking in 39 destinations and providing a great selection of3-14 night cruises.  Prices start from just £629 per person based on 2 adults travelling on the 6 night ‘Magic of the Fjords’ cruise from Harwich on 26th August 2012.


Cape Verde Bets on Reducing Unemployment

Praia, Dec 19 (Prensa Latina) The government of Cape Verde is working to reduce the unemployment rate, which affects 10.7 percent of the labor force in the country, which has a population of more than 500,000, official sources said.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Neves said after signing an agreement on decent work with the International Labor Organization (ILO) that this situation “does not please us and makes us understand that the first decency is to achieve full employment.”

Neves also favored improving the working conditions of thousands of employees in this African country.

The government is modifying the labor legislation to guarantee stability and the gradual improvement of the quality of life in Cape Verde, the prime minister added.

On the other hand, he noted that salaries have increased in recent times, and that the government has taken into account gender equality and environmental conditions in the workplace.

The agreement signed between the ILO and the government of Cape Verde promotes access to the labor market on equal conditions, equality and security.

The ILO committed to supporting projects in Cape Verde, including designing labor policies and building capacities in that field.


Cape Verdean Singer Cesaria Evora dies at 70

(Reuters) – The Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora, known as the “barefoot diva,” has died at age 70, according to reports over the weekend.

The singer, who brought the melancholy music known as “morna” to international audiences and received a Grammy in 2003, was hospitalized on Friday with respiratory failure, heart problems and pulmonary edema. She died at dawn on Saturday in her hometown of Mindelo on the island of Sao Vicente, Cape Verde’s state broadcaster reported on its website.

Evora had canceled several concerts before announcing the end of her career on September 23 because of health problems. In recent years she had undergone a number of operations, including open-heart surgery in May 2010.

Her last tour was scheduled to take her to Armenia, Romania, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

According to her official website, Evora began her singing career in the 1960s, and was known for singing morna, songs that told sentimental stories of disappointment and expressed the remoteness of the archipelago of Cape Verde, in the Atlantic Ocean off the western coast of Africa.

She was born on August 27, 1941, and started singing in the bars of Mindelo as a teen, when Cape Verde was still part of Portugal. In 1985 she performed in Lisbon, which led to an invitation to record in Paris.

Her first album, 1988’s “La Diva Aux Pieds Nus,” named after her preference for performing without shoes, brought Evora her first international success as a recording artist.

In the early 1990s she became a leading figure in the world-music scene with the albums “Mar Azul” and “Miss Perfumado,” featuring songs such as “Sodade” and “Cesaria.”

Since then she filled concert halls around the world and became the best-known export of Cape Verde, singing mainly in the Creole language of her native country.

After receiving several Grammy nominations, she was awarded the prize in the World Music category for her 2003 album “Voz d’Amor.”

Her last studio album, “Nha Sentimento,” was released in 2009.



Cape Verde Considered Ideal Vacation Destination for Families

05 September 2011

The fourth issue of the magazine published by Portuguese travel company Soltrópico identifies Cape Verde as an ideal destination for vacationing families, “for the safe, warm, endless beaches of the islands of Boa Vista and Sal.”


The latest issue of the magazine went into circulation on September 1, but for those who have not yet the opportunity to see it, A Semana Online reveals one of the articles about Cape Verde included in it, with the suggestive title “Cape Verde: a children’s paradise,” written by Patrícia Serrado. In the article, the reporter says that “the beaches are lovely and security is high. We are talking about the islands of Boa Vista and Sal, in Cape Verde.” She also refers to the “pleasant temperatures” and the “uniquely kind” local population, which make the islands “the right choice for those wishing to vacation with the whole family.”

In order to further whet prospective tourists’ appetites, the magazine details the attractions of each of the two islands. For example, with regards to Boa Vista, readers learn that it has “endless beaches, sun on a daily basis, a turquoise sea, warm water and a great deal of space for kids to let out all their adrenaline.” She also challenges families to take their children to see the city of Sal-Rei, as well as Rabil, Povoação Velha and the Viana desert, as well as the Santa Mónica, Chaves, Lacacão and Curral Velho beaches.

The magazine also suggests a longer, eight-day visit including the islands of São Vicente, Santo Antão and Santiago, and visits to the main tourist attractions on the latter – Cidade Velha, the São Filipe Fort and Tarrafal.



Cape Escape

By Bob Maddams, This is Travel — 24 November 2006

As I walked along the beach, waves that could have rolled over all the way from Bondi crashed with a thunderous roar.

Up ahead stood a promontory of rock that jutted out into the endless blue of the Atlantic Ocean. When I looked back mine were the only footprints in the sand, and gazing out to sea nothing stood between me and Brazil a couple of thousand miles away.

It made me think that if Robinson Crusoe was alive and well and back in England living somewhere in the suburbs, then this is probably where he’d come on holiday. I was on the island of Sal, the largest of the Cape Verde islands. There are ten islands all together and they lie in a cluster south of the Canaries and west of Senegal.

Direct flights between Sal and Manchester and Gatwick have only recently started operating, promising to put the Cape Verde islands on the holiday map like never before. So, what can you expect when you get there? The islands are all very different. Sal has mile after mile of white sand beaches and is where you’ll find the largest concentration of international hotels.

The government, aware that they’re on to a good thing by protecting the natural beauty of the environment, have laid down strict rules about tourism development, which means that the hotels and resorts blend into the landscape rather than dominate it.

Even the Club Hotel Riu Funana, which was huge, somehow managed to resemble a low-rise Moroccan casbah. Popular with families, the price included all meals, drinks, lots of different activities and lively evening entertainment, which usually took the form of singing and dancing and was performed by the local staff. What the shows may have lacked in sophistication was more than compensated for by the performers’ enthusiasm. The only time I couldn’t get a drink was during the finale when the bar staff disappeared on stage to join assorted chambermaids and gardeners, all dressed in colourful local costumes and strutting their Afro-Brazilian stuff.

By way of a complete contrast, Mindelo, the capital of the island of Sao Vicente, was all colonial architecture, peeling plaster and laid back locals. It was a half-hour flight to Sao Vicente in one of those planes where the wings extend over the cabin rather than under it.

In the Municipal Mercado, a two storey public market built in colonial style by the Portuguese, local women sold tropical fruits from baskets and were happy to break off from their haggling to flash toothy grins at us and offer us a taste of their wares.

Meanwhile, their men folk perched on stools in shady doorways, or lingered over a glass of the local rum-based grog in one of the dozens of small bars and cafes that marked the street corners. Watching a pair of them over a cold beer play chequers I half expected Ernest Hemingway to walk in at any moment. At night, the main square was a magnet for the young and old alike, while down by the harbour Mindelo pulsed to a different beat. Cape Verde has a musical tradition all its own; part samba, part salsa, part tribal African, and its greatest exponent is the Diva, Cesaria Evora. She was born in Mindelo and her crooning voice, which sounded like it had been soaked in molasses, could be heard in every bar and club. From Mindelo it was a short ferry hop to the neighbouring island of Santo Antao. Largely uninhabited, craggy, mountainous and green, we drove along narrow, winding, brick roads into a landscape of dormant volcanic craters, villages of stone built cottages and almost Alpine waterfalls.

At Pedracin village we stopped for a lunch of succulent, fresh-caught tuna steaks, and local vegetables which included breadfruit. Lunch was served on a terrace overlooking plunging hillsides of tropical trees and flowers that could easily have doubled for Madiera.

For a serious “get away from it all” experience a small number of cottages had had been fitted out as comfortable double rooms with en-suite bathrooms and TV, not that I for one would have been able to drag my eyes away from the view. I found the Cape Verde islands to be a real mixture, and that extended to the people themselves, who to varying degrees all have African, Brazilian and Portuguese blood coursing through their veins.

The islands boast year round sunshine, friendly locals, beautiful scenery that ranges from deserts to tropical, and countless miles of unspoilt beaches, making them a genuinely new and different holiday destination.

Just don’t be surprised if you catch the odd glimpse of a lone figure with a palm frond for a hat. That’ll be Mr. Crusoe, and he’s come to get away from it all.

Travel facts

Bob Maddams travelled to the Cape Verde islands with Holiday Options, who offers 6 of the 10 Cape Verde islands.

7 nights at the 5 star Riu Funana on Sal from £765 all inclusive basis and 7 nights at the 4 star Hotel Foya Branca on Sao Vicente from £795 half board. All include return flights from Gatwick or Manchester and transfers. Island hopping and excursions available.

Holiday Options 0870 4208372,

A Surreal Deal in Cape Verde

By John Carter, The Mail On Sunday — 25 May 2007

Taking me on a sightseeing tour of Salt island, Romina Carneiro explained why the town near the airport is called Asparagus. ‘Espargos is a small town but it is the biggest town we have,’ she said. ‘It is named after the asparagus that grows there. It is not real asparagus. It looks like asparagus but you will be very ill if you eat it. We call it the Devil’s Asparagus.’

It was rather a surreal introduction but the fascinating Cape Verde Islands are a surreal sort of place. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on them, just as they begin to fall into place, reminding you, perhaps, of similar destinations, something weird crops up. Take Sal (Salt) island which, on first acquaintance, promised to be the most unappealing place I have ever visited.

The flight from Lisbon, scheduled to arrive at ten minutes to midnight, was a little early. Romina met me and drove me to the hotel through what looked like an endless landfill site, promising to collect me next day for a proper look at the place.

I figured this would not take long. Sal island is about 19 miles long by eight miles at its widest. The ambitiously named Monte Grande is its highest point at 1,332ft.

It has no valleys, no vegetation and even the locally produced tourist pamphlets cannot avoid words such as ‘desert’, ‘barren’ and ‘arid’.

‘This must be the only place on Earth that doesn’t have any scenery,’ I mused, as Romina drove towards an extinct volcano. She wanted to show me the derelict salt pans in its crater, which is as good as it gets on Sal’s sightseeing circuit.

So why on Earth would you bother to go there for a holiday? Come to that, why are apartments selling like hot cakes? And why are property developers looking so pleased with themselves?

The answer lies in the far south of the island and the village of Santa Maria das Dores – or, rather, the magnificent beach of fine sand that runs almost as far as the eye can see around the shoreline of its bay.

This is where the hotels are, and the bathing, sailing, scuba-diving, windsurfing and fishing. And this is where the tourists settle after their 25-minute drive from the airport along the smart, new, wide road.

The village itself has a faded charm – the sort of place that should have tumbleweed blowing through its empty streets.

Holidaymakers who venture there to browse through the souvenir shops discover that most ‘local’ arts and crafts are from West Africa, the great land mass to the east of these Atlantic islands settled by the Portuguese in the 15th Century and happily independent since 1975. I was staying at the Riu Funana, an all inclusive hotel of the type springing up throughout the holidaymaking world. Normally I object to staying in an airconditioned ghetto but on Sal it is a more than acceptable option.

The crenellated walls, rounded towers and spires of its main buildings have a Moorish air about them, while those close to the beach near a very large swimming pool have high thatched roofs, in the African fashion.

Although it was filled to its 1,200-guest capacity, it did not seem so. There were empty tables in the self-service restaurants, and the cheerful girls who served coffee and tea and cleared away the dishes did not appear to be run off their Capeverdean feet.

The guests were mainly German, with some French and Belgians and a lot of Portuguese. A small group of Americans caught my attention but they turned out not to be on holiday. They were meteorologists, on Sal to study weather patterns. ‘You see,’ explained one, ‘it’s around these islands that the hurricanes get their start. And after Katrina we’re anxious to know all we can about them.’

Next morning I flew to Santiago island but the plane was late leaving because they had to load a man on a stretcher into the forward freight compartment and the luggage kept toppling on to the tarmac. (How’s that for surreal?)

The flight took about 40 minutes, but, as no one had remembered to ask for an ambulance and paramedics to meet the plane and unload the stretcher man, we waited an hour for the suitcases to show.

They couldn’t work around him, you see. Flying between the islands on Cabo Verde Airlines is not for sticklers for punctuality or the finer points of civil aviation procedures.

Islanders cannot make a journey without, apparently, taking all their worldly goods packed into bulging bags and boxes.

The 44lb luggage allowance is a basis for negotiation rather than a hard and fast rule, which can be disturbing when you realise you are going to be travelling with all that excess weight in a 42-seater turboprop.

At one check-in, the man ahead of me had, in addition to two huge bags, a pair of truck tyres.

As bags and tyres were tagged and sent on their way, I recalled my departure from Heathrow a few days earlier, where the tiniest of bags had to be passed through a measuring gauge in a general atmosphere of barely suppressed rage and hysteria.

‘Cape Verde – no stress,’ local folk say with a smile if they think a visitor is beginning to show signs of strain. To get the best from the islands, which more or less share the same latitude with those in the Caribbean, you must relax into their frame of mind.

I was relaxed enough later that morning when I walked along Banana Street in Cidade Velha, once the capital of this, the largest of the islands.

You can’t help feeling sorry for Cidade Velha because it struggled to retain its little share of glory through the 16th and 17th Centuries, despite being vulnerable to attacks by pirates and assorted freebooters – among them our own Francis Drake in 1585.

After he left, the Fortress of Sao Felipe was built and a cathedral, begun in 1556, was completed in 1693. They stand there still, ruined and forlorn, because the people of Cidade Velha gave up the struggle and built a new capital farther along the coast.

It was back to surreality when I finally reached that night’s hotel, the Quinta da Montanha, high in the Rui Vaz mountains.

The Quinta da Montanha is a very simple establishment and I was its only guest. Moreover its owner, Lindorfo Olivio Marques Ortet,was about to leave for Praia, the island’s capital, to attend a wedding feast.

‘My staff will look after you,’ he said, waving in the direction of three smiling young girls. ‘But I must go to this party, as today is also my birthday.’

The driver, who spoke a little English, then said it was his birthday too. Clearly, a celebratory beer was in order. However, the lady guide I had collected on my arrival was a staunch member of the Nazarene Church and had delivered several homilies on the evils of drink during the course of a long, hot day.

She sat glowering at us as glasses were raised in birthday toasts. Under such circumstances a second beer was not merely in order. It was mandatory.

The ten-bedroom Quinta da Montanha is a perfect getaway from urban pressures. Lush mountain scenery stretches away in every direction and the air is as pure and fresh as you could wish for. As you relax on its broad veranda, it is hard to believe it is a mere 15 miles from Praia.

The islands of Sao Vicente and Santo Antao were also on my itinerary. As far as the first is concerned, the city of Mindelo is its main attraction. Once an important refuelling station for ships heading to and from South America and southern Africa, today it greets the occasional cruise ship. Though busy, its harbour, like the city itself, has known more prosperous times.

Apart from ‘tanquiu’ meaning ‘thank you’ and ‘ovacote’ meaning ‘overcoat’ in the Creole language, Sao Vicente’s contribution to the surreal side of my trip was the fact that a thriving cricket team exists in Mindelo – a legacy, like those words, of British influence in the 19th Century. An early-morning ferry took me from Mindelo to the island of Santo Antao. In a little under an hour we were tying up to the quayside at Porto Novo.

This island provided the high spot of my trip. Plucked from the bustling quayside crowd, I was ushered into a smart four-wheel-drive land cruiser and driven north into spectacular mountain scenery.

As we began negotiating the twisting, steepening road, I noticed a blue plastic crucifix and a tiny model of the Eiffel Tower hanging from the driver’s mirror.

I assumed this meant he was putting our lives equally into the hands of God and President Chirac, but thought it best to make no comment.

Seen from the Estrada de Corda, a 22-mile road built in the Sixties, the landscape is stunning. We paused frequently on our way to Ribeira Grande so I could take photographs.

Steep valleys, wooded slopes plunging down from the roadside, views across to high, rugged mountains… the northern part of Santo Antao provided some of the most breathtakingly memorable scenery I have encountered in all my travels.

After the ferry had returned to Mindelo, I asked a man with impressive epaulettes to solve a mystery for me.

I explained that though I had never been to the islands before, the ferry – Mar D’Canal – seemed strangely familiar.

‘She used to be called Volcan de Tindaya and operated in the Canary Islands,’ her captain replied. ‘That is where you may have travelled on her.’

So, a small mystery was solved. But others remain.

Do flies die when they see their magnified reflections in waterfilled plastic bags? (That was why such bags are hung around the dining area at Quinta da Montanha, I was assured.)

Does the term ‘trading post’ come from the stone pillars to which slaves were shackled on auction days? (That’s what the Nazarene lady told me in Cidade Velha.)

When Charles Darwin visited these islands, did he really liken them to the Seychelles? (This was told to me when I happened to make the same connection.)

Did the people of Sal choose a soccer stadium rather than a hospital when asked what crucial amenity their island lacked?

Is the unrestricted entry of Senegalese on to the islands merely a way of ensuring plenty of watch and sunglasses pedlars on the beaches? Is the rainy season on Sal really ‘one afternoon in August, if we’re lucky’? And what happened to the stretcher case in the forward luggage compartment?

There’s nothing for it. To get some answers I shall have to return to the faintly surreal world of the Cape Verde Islands.

Travel Facts

Holiday Options (0870 420 8372, offers seven nights in Cape Verde from £549 at the four-star Hotel Odjo d’Agua on Sal.

Island hopping (three islands) from £1,365 for a week. Prices include return flights from Gatwick or Manchester, transfers and B&B accommodation (island-hopping includes inter-island flights and four additional meals).