Cape Verde Music

Like any African country, music is part of the culture and history of the Cape Verdean people. Thanks to the historical influence it has had, when traveling to Cape Verde for holidays you will discover all kinds of rhythms and instruments . The music of Cape Verde will surprise you!

Let yourself be carried away by the passion of their dances, and the heart they put into each of their songs. In addition, with numerous festivals throughout the year, it is very likely that you will be able to enjoy Cape Verdean music live.

How is Cape Verde´s Music?

In your goal of knowing and discovering Cape Verde, we recommend you attend live music concerts. The music of Cape Verde has a very cool and curious mixture, since throughout its history it has been influenced by the different political, social and territorial scenarios that the African country has experienced. Therefore, we can find all kinds of music styles. From more ” sambeño ” rhythms similar to those of Brazil, traditional Portuguese music (fado), or more original music from African culture accompanied by drums.

Therefore, each island has its own sound. After all, natural environments are very different and that’s why music sounds different. Everyday objects such as iron, plastic, glass bottles and cans are used as instruments, as well as natural materials such as wood, shells and gourds. The importance of music for the inhabitants of Cape Verde is so notorious that there is a radio station that broadcasts music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Not to mention the many live music events throughout the Cape Verdean country.

Cape Verde Music Styles

As we have mentioned before, there is a great variety of music in Cape Verde. So that you can choose before traveling to Cape Verde, here are some of the styles that exist:


It is a very widespread style of music, developed on the island of São, and whose best-known representative is Cesaria Evora . The lyrics are full of longing, nostalgia and desire). People say that the morna lets the guitars cry. Elements of Portuguese fado can be clearly heard , but morna is somewhat livelier than fado. It is played with guitars, cavaquinho (small 4-string guitar), a violin and a 10-string guitar. Among the most famous are Bau, Louis Morais and Luis Rendall.


Funaná is the third most important style of music in Cape Verde. It is found mainly on the island of Santiago. Even more rhythmic and fast than the coaldeira , it is played with the diatonic accordion (the bagpipe of Portugal) and the ferrinho , an iron bar that is scratched with a knife. More contemporary bands often substitute keyboards and drums for traditional instruments. In the funaná , people dance very close, sometimes even too close (:-p). The lyrics talk about the difficulties of life and current social problems. Examples of famous bands of this style of music are Raizes and Ferro Gaita. The Funaná is the ” African Bachata”.


Since Cape Verdeans love to celebrate and dance, it obviously has faster and more joyful forms of music. The coladeira is a more dynamic and rhythmic type of dance music, with lyrics that tend to be more upbeat. Elements of Caribbean zouk and Brazilian samba are quite dominant. His main instruments are violins, guitars and mandolins. This style of music from Cape Verde will not be missing in any celebration .


The batuko style comes from Santiago and shows the most African influences , with a large number of percussion elements (drums). The dance is like a ritual in which the singer shares bits of wisdom or even tells news and trivia. The choir, sitting in a semicircle (usually women), responds over and over to his comments. A dancer moves to these increasingly faster rhythms.


The queue of Santo Antão is a fertility ritual that is celebrated in June of each year, with whistles and drums. Although it is not a common style of Cape Verde music, we can also classify it as such.


Finançon is also a very rhythmic style that is similar to batuko (another type of Cape Verdean music). It has a leader, and a group of women who play the drum. However, there is no associated dance. The lyrics talk about current events, which are sometimes presented lyrically and sometimes humorously.


This Cape Verdean style of music can be heard most notably at the Tabanka Festival , held each year in May, and has an African origin . The people play shells, bells and drums while dancing in honor of their ancestors. They wear colorful costumes in a kind of parade and a king, the Rei Di Tanka, is dressed in a white uniform.


Modern electronic music is very popular among young people. We can say that the zouk is the commercial music of Cape Verde . It can be heard almost everywhere: in the taxi, on the streets, in the clubs , on the beach… Its roots come from the French Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. If on your trip to Cape Verde you want to move your skeleton, this will be your style of musician to choose.

Cape Verde´s Traditional Music

Music of Cape Verde for Festivals and Popular Celebrations

Do you prefer something more lively? Cape Verdean Music for Young People