If you didn’t know, Sofrito, a DJ collective/record label based in London, are some of the world’s foremost experts in the particularly funky strain of funky tropical music, and the first installment of their Island Series, Sound of Cape Verde is no exception. The musical traditions of Cape Verde (Check out our Hip Deep program “Diaspora Encounters: Spotlight on Cape Verdean-American Musicians” for more on that) have their roots in the music of escaped slaves, sometimes called badius. This EP covers the genres known as funana, played on accordion and metal scraper; coladeira, played with strings, such as guitars, violins and cavaquinhos; and batuku, played by women on makeshift drums made from rolled cloth with improvised verses. Also heard in the mix is the strong influence of French Caribbean zouk, which Cape Verdeans melded with their own styles to produce the popular dance music known as cabo-zouk. Rounding out the explosive dancefloor grooves of Sound of Cape Verde are the disco synths that infiltrated dance music all over the world in the 70s and 80s.
The album starts off with an Alma Negra edit of “Corpim Sabe,” a track originally recorded in the early 80s by Dionisio Maio from San Vicente island. The song begins with the rhythm of coladeira, which is soon joined by an excellent 80s disco synth line. The next track, Bulimundo’s “Santo Antòni La Belèm,” edited by Hide & Smile (a duo that features Sofrito co-founder Frankie Francis), starts off with an echoing and almost unearthly sounding wail, leading into a powerful dance track full of handclaps. “Minino Na Tchora” by Os Kings concludes the mix with a unique singing style that hits some serious high notes. Overall, this is a fine introduction to the uniquely simmering dance music of 80s Cape Verde- we look forward to seeing what comes next from the Sofrito Island Series!