Cape Verde Islands

Wednesday 18.09.2019



Musician on the Cape Verde Islands
Musician in Cape Verde

It seems as if the Cape Verdean music has been on a long journey in which all of the experiences, images and people from a great variety of roots have merged into one unique form of expression, without whose existence the islands are hardly imaginable today. This music reflects very distinct styles – the fado, polka and mazurka from Europe. In addition to the bossa nova and samba from Brazil, the drumming of Africa and the merengue and zouk from the Caribbean can be heard. The continued development of Cape Verdean music through constantly new elements of lyrics and tonal elements happened naturally, almost on its own, because the music of Cape Verde was and always will be one thing: an expression of the innermost feelings, dreams and longings of the people who create it and have a desire for it. The emigration of many Cape Verdeans to Europe and America, but also the historical years of suppression in the slave trade, has created a very special feeling of longing in the people. The saudade, which is also familiar from the Portuguese fado, runs like a leitmotif through the literature and music of the islands. This feeling between the yearning for love and the sense of security with another person, nostalgia and missing the homeland is virtually everywhere. Each island has its own sound. After all, the natural surroundings are very different and always sound very different. Everyday objects like iron, plastic, glass bottles and tins are used as instruments, as well as natural materials such as wood, shells and gourds. How important music is for the inhabitants of Cape Verde becomes clear in light of the fact that there are a proud five radio stations that are “on the air” almost 24 hours a day despite a population of only 400,000. Not to even mention the many events with live music or the numerous private gatherings at which someone always has an instrument that suddenly sets the tone.

Continuation: Music Styles of Cape Verde