The Morna, the traditional musical genre of Cape Verde

Morna is traditional Cape Verdean music. The music describes the reality of the thoughts of a particular people or nation, through music you can learn a little about the culture, habits and popular beliefs, morals and traditions of a people. Musically, every people expresses itself according to its genre, its idiosyncrasy, its moments and circumstances.

In the history of the Morna, various elements of various origins are connected: the Arab moans, the joyful African rhythms, the songs of the settlers, that is to say, the songs of the mockery and the wickedness of the Portuguese conquerors. However, the slave, rather than the settler, was the bearer of the lament, because he represented the most oppressed class and lived in an environment of suffering.

Everything indicates that the Morna was born on the island of Boavista from 1780 to 1850, at least one type of proto-morna, with possible influences of the “sweet weeping of lundum”, coming from Portugal, and of the “modinha” of Brazil. La Morna a Boa Vista has been characterized (and still is) by a faster and stolen style movement. Perhaps one of the first pieces of Morna known as “Babylon”, probably composed by Maninha Santos of Povoação Velha, a small town in the heart of the island.

The Morna is the musical genre that most identifies the Cape Verdean people. It is truly a national symbol, just as tango is for Argentina, rumba for Cuba, fado for Portugal, etc. Some musical genres of Cape Verde are more or less appreciated by the local population, based on the age of the listener, the season, the island of origin, personal taste, but Morna is the only genus that can be widely transversal in all age groups, chronologically and geographically.

It is also the only genus that has always enjoyed the most prestigious and “noble” character of Cape Verde. Being one of the few musical genres that until recently, in the 70s, had been implanted in all the islands of the country, it is sung by everyone, listened to by everyone and in all environments, both festive and sad.

The Morna is one of the many musical genres in Cape Verde, along with Coladeira, Funaná, Batuku, Colá San Djon, Bandeira and Finaçon. Its peculiarity, along with Coladeira, is that it comes from the two musical genres that managed to extrapolate the border of the islands, which managed to overcome the territorial discontinuity, at least until the 1970s.

It is a musical genre in which love, desire, nostalgia, sadness, pain, lamentation, betrayal, jealousy, misfortune, moon, sea, departure are sung. It is mainly composed in the Cape Verdean language, the Kriol, a language that exists as a vehicle of communication on the island of Santiago since the nineteenth century, although there are also compositions in Portuguese.

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