Elida Almeida: Gerasonobu

July 28, 2021

Life, Love & Clouds

Listening Post 312. Elida Almeda’s fourth album is a story of Cape Verde, a portrait of the generation of artists following in the footsteps of the great diva Cesária Évora, and the saga of one singer-songwriter, raised by a single mother in a house without electricity, navigating between tradition and the global winds that have always swept her archipelago nation of sailors and migrants. If the scope of Gerasonobu (New Generation) is ambitious, the performance is stellar, rising on Almeida’s voice—poised and soulful, innocent and seductive—and her incandescent energy. Her music is rooted in the funaná style of her home village on Santiago Island and embraces Cape Verdean morna and coladeira as well as African, Brazilian and contemporary urban sounds. Each of Gerasonobu’s 13 tracks addresses a stage of Almeida’s life and a facet of her nation’s culture. Bibibido evokes childhood memories of a repulsive folk figure who shows up on Ash Wednesday smelling of sugar cane and couscous, scaring all the children and then laughing with them (video 1). Almeida’s father passed away when she was eight and she recounts being told of his death in Obrigadu Papa (Thank You, Daddy, video 2). Nha Bilida portrays her panic and the ultimate joy of becoming a mother at age 16 (video 3). Adolescence blooms awkwardly in Amizadi Novu (New Friendship, video 4), a commentary on the superficiality of social media. And adulthood brings attention to societal concerns like domestic violence, as reflected in Sai Bu Bai (Go Away, video 5). As Cape Verde evolves with worldly influences, so does Almeida’s perspective. On previous albums she has examined her own story from ground level but now has an aerial view—from writing songs on planes between her native islands, her current home in Lisbon, and world concert tours. Like Joni Mitchell she’s looked perceptively, from every side, at life, love and clouds. (Lusafrica)

Related post. Elida Almeida: Kebrada, Listeing Post 129, December 19, 2017 https://worldlisteningpost.com/2017/12/19/elida-almeida-kebrada/

Elida Almeida: Gerasonobu / New Generation
Elida Almeida, Vocals

Hernani Almeida, Guitars, keyboard, piano, organ, percussion
Blinky Bill: Beat programming
Palin Vieira, cavaquinho; Davide Zaccaria, cello; Carlos Matos, piano, rhythm organ; Vanda Pereira, bass; Russo (Mario Bettencourt), bass; Mayo, bass; Adao Brito, bass; Victor di Bitori, accordion; Kau Paris, drums; Jorge Pimpas, drums; N’Du, percussions; Diego Camacho, congas; Jacob Desvarieux, keyboard; Princezito, vocals; Ranilda Ramos, Albertino Évora, Nataniel Simas, Nana (Renato Almeida), Magik & Jacob Desvarieux and children, backing vocals; Pitó, tabankas, percussions, effects; José Aguirre, trumpet; Claudio Silva, trumpet; Carlos Atoche, trombone; Lars Arens, trombone; João Capinha saxophone


Lyrics & music: Elida Almeida
(all songs performed in Cape Verdean Creole)

Bibido is the name of a ragged and repulsive folk figure who shows up on Ash Wednesday smelling of sugar cane and couscous, scaring children and then making them laugh as he dances in the Carnival parade. The song is in the tabanca style, a festive genre from Almeida’s home island, that today has almost disappeared. 


Obrigadu Papa / Thank You Daddy
Lyrics & music: Elida Almeida

A sweet & melancholy coladeira, Obrigadu Papa honors the artist’s father, who passed away when she was eight years old. “I wrote this song on a plane,” Almeida says. “When I started writing, I started crying… and I cried to the end. I talk about the day they told me he died. I especially wanted to tell him that my brothers, sisters & I had grown up… I don’t know if he would have been proud of us, but I thank him for giving us life…”.


Nha Bilida
Lyrics & music: Elida Almeida

The electro-Afrobeat of Nha Bilida is the work of Blinky Bill, a Kenyan musician who was one of co-producers of Gerasonobu. The song talks about Almeida’s son, born when she was only 16: “For me, being pregnant so young was panic!” she recalls. “In the lyrics I tell my son that I was afraid to touch him… He was so small, so fragile! But when I lay down beside him, he was so calm…I felt protected. His sigh, his heartbeat put me to sleep peacefully.”


Amizadi Novu / New Friendship
Lyrics & music: Elida Almeida

The song gently mocks the 2000 generation’s misguided faith in social media and the superficial friendships and attitudes that come from too much screen time.


Sai Bu Bai / Go Away
Lyrics & music: Elida Almeida

A melancholy samba, Sai Bu Bai expresses alarm at the cases of domestic violence, many of which result in women dying from beatings, reported in the news daily.



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