Music

Exciting Cape Verde musical styles

As far as Cape Verdean culture is concerned, there is one thing you will immediately notice: the different and colorful musical genres, which can be enjoyed by music lovers all over the world.

But what is the country’s musical heritage and what kind of musical styles fit into it?

When discovering Cape Verde, and when strolling through its streets at the end of the afternoon, while feeling a cool breeze on your face, enjoying the sunset and preparing for dinner, you will probably hear here and there a warm and attractive sound. Although globalization makes it possible to find international music, such as pop, hip-hop or zouk / kizomba, there is a sense of belonging that makes local musicians connect with their roots, which makes it possible to hear beautiful music from Cape Verdean styles such as, for example:

Main musical styles in Cape Verde

Morna

As far as music is concerned, Morna is more than music: it is a national symbol, which elevates the name of Cape Verde. Slow music, usually composed of voice and guitar, is a delight for the senses. Simple and fantastic…

The biggest name in Morna is Cesária Évora, one of the country’s cultural ambassadors. Other singers like Bana and Tito Paris, for example, are recognized big names in this style.

Koladera

Koladera is a musical genre that also encompasses dance. Lyrics can be romantic, but in most cases they are used to describe social traits and make comments or criticisms. These soaicl critical characteristics have been present since the beginning of Koladera. This style of music can include different types of instruments. Guitar, cavaquinho (similar to a Ukelele) and a percussion instrument are, in most cases, what is needed to add to the voice to make this type of music. But several other instruments can be added to this basic setup.

Koladera is also a type of ballroom dance, where two people dance together.

Funaná

Like Koladera, Funaná is a genre that includes music and dance. Although it has structure and composition similar to other Cape Verdean musical genres, the big difference is that the basic configuration is composed of an iron, which sets the rhythm, and the accordion, with solos from the latter during the song.

Like Koladera, Funaná’s main themes are everyday life situations or social criticism.

The diversity of musical styles, despite sharing characteristics with each other, is one of the great cultural riches of the country, with international recognition.

Tabanca

Tabanca is a traditional musical style, but also a national manifestation. In colonial times, it was prohibited. Over time, music was “revived” and seen as a form of community building.

The song is also played in parades, in which locals perform to retrieve a stolen saint. The tabanca is the music played in this parade by drummers (tamborerus), bugles (corneterus) and female singers (kantadeiras).

Batuque

Batuque is music that is at the same time an original dance that is part of Cape Verde’s cultural heritage. A group of people (mainly women) play the drums, dance and sing, according to a specific rhythm.

Cape Verdean music is beautiful and full of hot rhythms. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy it on your visit to Cape Verde.

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