26 June 2013

Cape Verde Traditional Music

Mendes Brothers Ramiro and João are a duo from Cape Verde, the nation of islands in the Atlantic 350 miles off the coast of Africa. They are accomplished musicians, and Ramiro has written songs for fellow celebrity performers, such as the legendary Cesária Évora.

Among the Mendes Brothers recordings shared on Jamendo is their 1995 album Bandera. In his Allmusic review of the album, Mark Romano writes:
Bandera is an old and sacred Cape Verdean music style that has been preserved for over 500 years. The music is performed exclusively during the saints' festivals. There are two or more drummers, an entourage of call-and-response chanters, and masked dancers. Bandera is set on a beautifully syncopated 3/4 rhythmic pattern with a very simple and repetitive melodic structure.
This is the first time that bandera was transposed from its traditional music format to contemporary expression. The brothers have interpreted this ancient music and have done it admirably. With updated technology they have brought this music to a wider audience. The tracks are deeply rooted in the traditional rock bed of West Africa but also swing with a thoroughly modern intensity. The semba/ coladera tracks combine Cape Verdean coladera dance rhythms with Angolan semba. The mixture results in extended fiery marathons, percussion-laden with riffing horns. This is Cape Verdean music at its finest, with plenty of percussion and bass accompanied by call-and-response vocals and some great chops on the horns. Highly recommended.

Music License: © Creative Commons BY-SA
Artist Location: Cabo Verde (Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cape Verde)

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