As you can clearly hear from our program “Kickin’ It in Cabo Verde,” the small Atlantic island chain is a musical powerhouse. To help you learn more about some of the artists who appeared at the recent Atlantic Music Expo and are featured in this episode of Afropop, we’ve put together some background information.
A powerful young vocalist from Cabo Verde, Neuza primarily sings in the islands’ fogo tradition. Born in 1985, Nueza resisted a musical career until her vibrant voice brought her encouragement from coworkers, and she began to perform live. One of these appearances got the attention of José Da Silva, who signed her to his Lusafrica label, and released her music to the world.
The daughter of a Cabo Verdean government minister, Nancy Vieira comes from the upper echelons of her nation’s society. Singing with cool precision and understated emotion, her jazzy, precise voice is wonderful. The “next Cesaria Evora” tag is something pinned on numerous female Cabo Verdean singers, but with Nancy it makes more than a little sense.
Ferro Gaita is one of the leading groups playing funaná, an uptempo, accordion-heavy music that developed on the island of Santiago during the early 20th century. During the ’80s and ’90s, the style was reinvented with a more modern, electronic twist, and has since become a popular Lusophone dance style. Ferro Gaita bridges the gap between this electronic version and the more traditional style with great success.
Want more funaná? Be sure to check out Ze Espanhol.
or watch Ferro Gaita collaborating with the young star Djodje.
Kuenta i Tambu
We first heard Kuenta I Tambu (or KIT) when they came to New York for globalFest. As you can see above, we even got to take them to the studios at BRIC, where they played some acoustic versions of their usually electrified material. KIT comes from the ABC islands: Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao (although the majority of the band was born in Curaçao.) They play tambu, a traditional celebration music that was banned for years by the Dutch colonizers. KIT reconfigures the style with modern dance beats, fusing ancient rhythms to modern drops.
A Verdean-American who grew up in Rhode Island, Chachi Carvalho epitomizes the mixture that defines Cabo Verdean culture. Combining rap with popular styles like zouk, Chachi has created a unique, modern, diasporic sound.