It’s Sunday. Day of rest and recuperation, after the excesses of the previous night. So I feel it fitting we should continue our gentle exploration of Cape Verdean music.
Frank Mimita moved away from the islands in 1966, to look for a better life in Lisbon, Portugal. He became a professional musician recording with several bands under Luis Rendall stewardship. He then moved onto the Netherlands where he permanently settled and recorded several albums exploring his Cape Verdean heritage, including an album of Mornas and Coladeiras. After his return home to the islands in 1979 he died less than a year later in January 1980.
Today’s selection is from what seems to be a late 70’s album. It is one of my favourite Cape Verdean tracks. It appears to have been co-written with Angolan guitarist Carlos Viera Dias. The organ on the title track is so sorrowful and is matched by the trumpets.
It brings tears to the eyes.
Forti trabadja palguem
Record Details: Frank Mimita – Já Nõ Tem Traboi Nã Nõs Terra (197?) – La Do Si Discos (774009)
The current cold weather gripping the UK makes me crave warmer climes, long sandy beaches and tropical sounds. So today I have decided to go back to Cape Verde; we first visited it a couple of weeks ago in one of my early posts. In much the same way this icy climate is gripping our small island, with Spring several weeks away, if the newspapers are to be believed, the music of another archipelago off the west coast of Africa is holding me close in its warm and comforting embrace.
Bulimundo are best known for their revival of an relatively new accordion based music known as Funaná. Today’s track, PéDiPedra, is actually a version of an old classic by Codé Di Dona. Bulimundo were largely responsible for bringing the genre into the present using electric instruments, drum machines and synthesizers. Until then Funaná was considered peasants’ music not fit to stand up to the superior Morna, and it gradually started to die out in popularity until the 1980s with the arrival of Carlos Alberto Martins aka Katchás, who mentored the band, and developed the new style. Sadly he was killed in a car crash on 29 March 1988, but thanks to him Funaná lives on and is still popular today.
I love this new pulsating style, that reinterprets a traditional genre. Bulimundo’s version is bursting with so many influences and you cannot help but move to it. This music is perfect to escape the cold weather and bring on Spring.
and here is the original…
Bulimundo – Djam Branch Dja (1981) – Monte Cara/Black Power Records (LP 1942)
One of the main reasons I like African music is the huge variety of styles it consists of and the way they trace the history of the continent and all the outside influences. It is possible to see trade routes, the arrival of colonial powers, the gain of independence, and national crises in the music. This is particularly evident in Cape Verde, a small group of a dozen islands 350 miles off the coast of Senegal.
Cape Verde has a terrible past, with the islands being central in the transatlantic slave trade as a stopping off point on the way to the the New World. Tough economic times during and after independence from Portugal in 1990, meant that many of the population moved away and there is now more Cape Verdeans living abroad than on the islands.
There is a strong Latin sound to the music, with Morna, made world famous by Cesária Évora, and Coladeira the dominant styles. I first heard this wonderful music in a small Cape Verdean restaurant in a small back street in Lisbon, whilst eating Canja de Gahlinha (Spicy Chicken Stew). The music is extremely danceable but tinged with sadness.
My selection is from the giant (he was over 7ft) of Cape Verdean Morna,Bana. I have a chosen a Coladeira off an early eighties album. Try to get that piano hook out of your head!