Tag: Cabo Verde

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The distinctive music of the Cape Verde islands is normally sung in Portuguese/African creole - the oldest creole language still in everyday use. The 10 volcanic islands are in the Atlantic about 375 miles (600 km) from the African coast, 1,900 miles or 3,000 km from Lisbon. They were uninhabited when discovered by the Portuguese in the mid 15th century. Independent since 1975.

Different versions of classic Cabo Verdean Morna "Sodade"

Césaria Évora "Sodade" (Longing)

Césaria Évora "Sodade" (Longing) live in Paris, 2004

Words and Music: Amândio Cabral
First appeared on Césaria Évora's 1992 album "Miss Perfumado"

The words are sung in the Portuguese-based creole language spoken on the Cape Verde islands, where the song was written sometime in the 1960s. The song is now sung throughout the Portuguese-speaking world, and here we present several versions. It is one of the most famous examples of Morna, the plaintive ballad style of the islands.

Cabo Verde became independent from Portugal in 1975, after the Portuguese revolution brought the colonial wars to a close. Cabo Verde later split off from Guinea-Bissau, on the African mainland, from where it had been run during Portuguese rule.

"Sodade" seems to mean the same as the Portuguese word "saudade" [sad, alone, yearning, pining, missing you etc], but the music sounds more laid back than, for example, Fado.

What it's about: The singer is missing home and someone far away, and regretting their parting. So it is a classic song of homesickness, and of pining for someone, hence its universal appeal.

Who showed you this long path
Who showed you this long path
This path to São Tomé?

Longing, longing, longing
for my homeland of São Nicolau

If you write to me, I'll write to you
If you forget me, I'll forget you
Until the day you return

Who showed you this long path
Who showed you this long path
This path to São Tomé?

Longing, longing, longing
for my homeland of São Nicolau.

Tito Paris in a live performance for a radio

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Lura sings "Di Undi Kim Bem" a song about suffering and slavery

Lura "Di undi kim bem"

Lura "Di undi kim bem" (Where I came from)

Born in Lisbon to parents from Cabo Verde, Lura (full name Maria de Lurdes Pina Assunção) sings in both Portuguese and Cabo Verdean styles. This song is a poem in Kriolu (the Portuguese/African creole of the Cape Verde islands), put to music by Lura. You don't need to speak creole to notice the mixture of both tenderness and anger in this performance.

What it's about: "Di Undi Kim Bem" means "Where I came from", while "La di undi kim bem" means "There where I came from". Lura says this repeatedly and intensely throughout the song. So it's more personal than geography. It's about her ancestors and the origins of the mixed-race inhabitants of Cabo Verde, including both her and the writer of the words.

Where I came from
There are stories to weep over
Mournful songs
That tell of homesickness for a distant land


Where I came from
Black women had mulatto children
The full moon illuminates the darkness of all Cape Verde

There where I came from
There’s a secret history kept by time
A scent, a mystery marked on the skin

There where I came from
The full moon soothes the torment
Of the chains people once brought from Africa

Tied at the feet, tied at the wrists, whipped on the body
("Maradu na pe, maradu na mon, sotadu na corpo" x2)
There where I came from

Letra: Abraão Vicente
Musica: Lura

Translation and original creole lyrics from www.luracriola.com

On a

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