Lucibela: Laço Umbilical

Feather light arrangements carry Lucibela and her low, soft-power voice like a princess in an open litter, high enough off the ground so her countrymen can see how effortlessly she floats, near enough to hear her singing their story. Laço Umbilical (Umbilical Cord), her first album, is a masterpiece in Cape Verdean Creole, combining melancholy mornas and brisk coladeiras with Brazilian influences; mixing love songs to a beautiful archipelago and ballads about a … More Lucibela: Laço Umbilical

Elida Almeida: Kebrada

Elida Almeida describes her second album as an x-ray of Cape Verde, stories that look beneath the surface of hope and disillusion. At 24, she is a consummate singer-songwriter, blending her island homeland’s hallmark styles—funaná, morna, batuque and tabanka—with Latin energy and traces of R&B. Across 12 tracks, the album offers a current, delightfully applied, of life and art imitating one another. With the most mournful doses of reality, Almeida’s warm voice and gentle or upbeat rhythms … More Elida Almeida: Kebrada

Ceuzany: Ilha d’Melodia

We think of islands as isolated places, but Cape Verde, the archipelago off Africa’s west coast, has enough tourists and more than enough expatriates to ensure constant traffic and ample opportunity for its prodigiously talented musicians to reach across the waters. One of the country’s rising stars is Ceuzany Pires, whose second solo album is an exploration of home, family, strong women, migration, music and love—expressed in traditional Cape Verdean morna and coladeira, seasoned with folk, rock … More Ceuzany: Ilha d’Melodia

Bonga: Recados de Fora

The singer-songwriter Bonga Kuenda is as relevant to Angola’s culture today as he was when his country broke free from Portugal in 1975—remarkable considering he spent most of the intervening years in exile. A thorn in the side of the old Portuguese dictatorship and then to the corrupt leaders who came dominate the newly independent nation, he has been a voice of liberty, identity and protest. Recados de Fora (Messages from Elsewhere)—his thirty-first … More Bonga: Recados de Fora

Lura: Herança

Cape Verde has a diverse musical palette, but the international renown of the late Cesária Évora skewed the island nation’s reputation toward the melancholy morna style. Lura idolized Évora, with whom she performed, but she favors the more up-tempo funaná beat. Born in Lisbon to Cape Verdean parents, Lura (Maria de Lurdes Pina Assunção) didn’t speak Cape Verdean Creole until her teens but ultimately made the language the foundation of her career. Herança (Heritage) … More Lura: Herança