Music Review: Classics from the Coast of Africa

CABO VERDE INSTRUMENTAL by various artists (Lusafrica)
by Keith Goetzman
July-August 2010
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

Related Content

Dubtopia: Dub Colossus and A Town Called Addis (Music Review)

From the first bright horn bursts, psychedelic sound effects, pulsing groove, and honeyed vocals of ...

Music Review: White Arrows - Dry Land Is Not A Myth

White Arrows released their debut album, Dry Land Is Not A Myth, on June 19th.

Music Review: Clare and the Reasons - KR-51

Clare and the Reasons released KR-51 on July 10th via Frog Stand Records.

Music Review: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Cobra Juicy

Music Review of Black Moth Super Rainbow's latest album, Cobra Juicy.

The African island nation of Cape Verde has made it onto the world-music map with its deliciously melancholy music, morna, thanks to the genre’s “barefoot diva,” Cesaria Evora. But strip away her vocals—or any other vocals, for that matter—and the musical base underneath still shimmers with beauty. Cabo Verde Instrumental showcases morna and other homegrown music styles, reaching back to the late 1960s, and many of these exquisitely melodious songs have the ring of classics. This collection could sit on the shelf between Buena Vista Social Club and Duke Ellington and fit right in.

The album assumes that you’ve come to the islands to stay awhile, so it starts off with a 15-minute medley by Humbertona and Toy that sets the scene, conjuring salt breezes, swaying palms, and water disappearing into the horizon. Pianist Chico Serra’s “Fidjo Maguado” somehow combines a Chopinesque stateliness with a jaunty feel; “Passagem” by the Mindel Band takes cues from contemporary jazz; and several numbers by the string wizard known simply as Bau are timeless expressions of passion-packed virtuosity.

There’s a bittersweetness to many of the tunes—especially the morna, of course—but the overall impression is one of barely contained joy.

Post a comment below.


Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!