Festivals in Cape Verde
It’s nearly time for the start of festival season in Cape Verde and a welcome array of bright colours, incredible talent and traditional music. It is an important part of Island life and culture and, as such, we wanted to take a look at some of the best events from across the archipelago.
The Fetsa Nossa Senhora De Piedade, which translates as the Feast of Our Lady of Mercy, takes place on Sal in August. The celebration includes processions around the Pedra de Lume, where the Nossa Senhora de Piedade chapel resides, alongside sports such as swimming competitions, religious activities and a music festival featuring local talent down on the beach. It is a true taste of the fantastic culture of Cape Verde. Later on in the year, you can enjoy the Santa Maria Festival. Usually taking place around mid-September, this annual music festival brings in a variety of live acts, as well as food and drink stalls where there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Plus, it has the added advantage of being only down the road from our Resorts on Algodoeiro Beach.
Though Boa Vista has the smallest population of all inhabited Islands, it does enjoy a few great festivals. One is the Santa Cruz music festival just north of Sal Rei, which takes place over a few days in August, pulling in Cape Verde’s chart-topping artists and a number of different performers from across the archipelago. The other main festival to look out for is Santa Isabel day on the 4th July. As the patron saint of the Island, Santa Isabel is celebrated with processions, swimming, horse racing, tours and a public ball. Both are festivals that can soon be experienced by guests of the White Sands Hotel & Spa when it opens on Santa Monica Beach in Boa Vista early next year.
São Vicente is the host of the big Cape Verde Carnival in February, usually held 40 days before Easter. Inspired by the carnivals of Brazil and incorporating their shared history of Portuguese influences, it really is a sight to be seen. The parades are colourful and full of fun, an event enjoyed by locals and tourists, with the largest celebrations around the town of Mindelo.
Music in Cape Verde
Expect to hear a mix of music at every one of these amazing festivals. Amongst popular hits you may recognise, you will enjoy the incredible sounds of Cape Verde’s music scene. There are three main types of song on the Islands, each with its own unique and beautiful tone.
The first is the morna, which is believed to have originated on Boa Vista and is thought to derive from the word mourning. It is recognisable by its sense of melancholy, what the Cape Verdeans refer to as sodade or the longing for home. Normally, it would be performed with instruments such as violins, violas and cavaquinhos. It is an incredible sound and one that you will rarely hear elsewhere, as it is unique to the Islands.
The batuko is more of a performance, combining dance moves with complex drum patterns performed over each other as the beach rises until dancer after dancer is replaced. The circle of usually female drummers make the most of the hypnotic overlapping rhythms to make the batuko a real spectacle and well worth seeing while you’re on the Islands.
Lastly, the Funana is a sounding song form thought to have started on the Island of Santiago. Funana is usually accompanied by the sounds of an accordion with surging rhythms and repetitive call-and-response vocal patterns. It is the most common form of live music so expect to hear it float from the doors of clubs, bars and from the beaches, as well as the many festivals in Cape Verde.
For more information about festivals and activities on the Islands, as well as the wonderful culture of Cape Verde, get in touch with the team today via our contact page.