Morna, a musical genre from Cape Verde was added this week to UNESCO’S Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Morna is a traditional style that incorporates vocals, music, poetry and dance. Morna can be either sung or played only with instruments, primarily string instruments such as the guitar, violin, and cavaquinho.
The lyric poetry can be improvised, with topics including love, departure, separation, reunion, longing and the motherland. It is currently mainly performed in Cape Verdean Creole.
Practitioners include instrumentalists, singers, poets and composers, and morna is performed at significant life events such as weddings, christenings, and family reunions.
The most famous morna singer for many years was the late Cesaria Evora.
Lucibela, one of the great new voices of Cape Verde, entered the world music scene in 2018 with her debut album Laço Umbilical. Now, in 2019, Lisbon-based Lucibela has re-released a new version of the album titled Laço Umbilical Bonus Version. This second edition includes a new song titled “Ti Jon Poca” and a new cover.
Additionally, two of the original tracks are now duets. “Dona Ana” is now a collaboration with the celebrated Angolan singer Bonga, and “Sai Fora” (formerly known as “Mal Amadu” on the first version of the album) incorporates North African raï influences contributed by Algerian artist Sofiane Saidi.
Lucibela’s style is deeply inspired by the late Cesaria Evora. She is gifted with a captivating vocal technique and focuses on two genres, morna and coladera. The album includes lyrics by Cape Verde’s best songwriters and songs delicately -arranged by guitar and cavaquinho maestro Toy Vieira.
The musicians on Laço Umbilical (Bonus Version include Lucibela on vocals; Toy Vieira on: acoustic guitar and cavaquinho; Bonga on vocals; Sofiane Saidi on vocals; Vaiss on acoustic guitar; Stephan Almeida on cavaquinho; Djim Job on bass; Nir Paris and Miroca Paris on percussion; Totinho on soprano saxophone; Mario Marta and Marise Vasconcelhos on backing vocals; Maryll Abbas on accordion; Julián Corrales on violin; Thierry Fanfant on bass; Hernani Almeida on semi acoustic guitar; and Daniel Rodriguez on cello.
Lucibela Freitas Dos Santos, better known as Lucibela, was born in Tarrafal on the island of São Nicolau, one of the Barlavento islands, in Cabo Verde on April 18, 1986.
When Lucibela’s family moved to Mindelo on the island of São Vicente, had an opportunity to develop her singing skills. While in high school, she joined a local band called Mindel Som. Years later, she began to sing in the hotels of Santa Maria on the island of Sal and Sal Rei on the island of Boa Vista. She refined her technique and became an instant hit with the tourists, performing songs made famous by the great singers of Cabo Verde: Cesaria Evora, Titina, and Bana.
In 2012, the young vocalist relocated to Praia where she was almost immediately a star attraction at musical events in the capital. She met different musicians there, including the guitarist Kaku Alves, who had played throughout the world with Cesaria for around 15 years.
In 2016, Lucibela made her debut in Lisbon. Some journalists compared her to Cesaria Evora. “Cesaria is unique and there’ll never be another Cesaria,” humbly asserted the young singer. “My aim is to carry on the work Cesaria began. I want to sing Cabo Verdean musical genres – such as morna and coladera – pretty much anywhere in the world and I want to succeed because of my own talent.”
Lucibela was selected to showcase at the 2017 Atlantic Music Expo – a major music fair where musicians and producers from all over the globe meet in mid-Atlantic in Praia, a focal point of world music. Lucibela became a sensation for the professionals, journalists and show promoters visiting the Expo.
In October and November 2017, Lucibela recorded her first album in Lisbon with highly respected guitarist and arranger Toy Vieira, produced by Lusafrica’s José da Silva. The album, titled Laço Umbilical (Umbilical cord) was released in February 2018.
In 2019 Lucibela released a new edition of Laço Umbilical with new versions of some songs and additional new material as well.
Lusafrica has released a compilation that features some of the finest morna performers, ranging from the now classics like Cesaria Evora, Teofilo Chantre and Ildo Lobo to young new talent such as Elida Almeida, Ceuzany, and Jenifer Solidade.
Morna is the popular traditional music of Cape Verde, songs of longing and love. Cesaria Evora became a world music sensation and introduced mornas to thousands of adoring international music fans.
The artist selection includes Ildo Lobo, Lura, Albertino, Cesaria Evora, Ceuzany, Elida Almeida, Kompass, Bau, Teofilo Chantre, Jenifer Solidade, Nancy Viera, Ze Luis, Teofilo Chantre & Cesaria Evora, Alma De Morna, Fantcha and Maria Alice.
Mornas De Cabo Verde is a great opportunity to catch up with some of the greatest female and male performers of this profound music style.
Captivating vocalist Eneida Marta was born in Guinea Bissau. Descending from a family of artists, especially her father, who came from Cape Verde, she started singing as a little child, working on her voice and participating in some children’s music contests.
Some years later, after moving to Portugal, she met Juca Delgado, one of the most important African music producers, and started working together, which gave her the chance of taking part in the work of some of the most important African musicians in Portugal, such as Don Kikas, Rui Sangaras, Fernando Santos (Aiaia), Aliu Bari, Punga, Iva and Ichi.
Coinciding with the release of her first album, Nestoria (Maxi Music, 2001), produced by Juca Delgado, Eneida toured Cape Verde, France, Holland, Germany, Guinea Bissau and Portugal.
As the second album became a reality, it revealed a remarkable interest by some international record companies such as Putumayo, Club Star and JPS Production. Finally with Putumayo, and with her track Na Bu Mons, Eneida took part in a compilation dedicated to the music in the former Portuguese African countries, An Afro-Portuguese Odyssey (2002). In 200,2 Eneida Marta released a second album, a maxi-single, where she pays tribute to Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde African sounds and where she also sings in Arabic, showing her multifaceted artistic side.
Eneida Marta participated in other compilations and also appeared in the albums of renowned African artists. artists.
Eneida and Juca explore a great variety of styles, gumbe, morna, singa, with some flamenco, Gospel and jazz nuances.