Monday, July 14, 2008

Cape Verde

I've been recently captivated by Cape Verde. Its a small archipelago of the west coast of africa and its unique place in the world. Its situated just miles away from senegal but also near enough to portugal that there is a nuanced influence of portuguese culture. It also quite reminds me of Brazil. Also this note is important because it is a key site among the beginning of the African Slave trade in the Americas. With such a weighted history a lot is still not known about these Islands and its inhabitants. I myself came across on such person in the music isle of Virgin megastore, while i worked there, I was just putting CD's back in the african section i happened to notice once CD had portuguese on the back cover liner notes. I instantly thought it was put in the wrong pill but i wanted to double check with all-music.com. As I read up on the artist I found out that it was correctly filed. I was like tossed for my mental bits when i listened to the album. It had a afro-brazilian vibe but it was purely african in origin. Oh in case your wondering the artist who sent me on this long and fascinating journey was Tcheka but i'll have more on him at a later date because I'm hear to share with you a research paper by someone who I also happened to meet in that same virgin isle, Mercedes J. Proctor and this is what see found enjoy. The following is a research paper by, Mercedes J. Proctor.

In Search of True Cabo-Verdianidade:
An Analysis of Literature, Music, and Dance in Cape Verde




Conveniently located about 900 miles south of the Canary Islands and about 400 miles west of Senegal, lies what was known as “Africa’s Jewel in the Atlantic”: Cape Verde.1 The archipelago of ten islands and several islets are situated between the West African coast, Portugal, and the rest of the Atlantic World. Consequently, it is no wonder that Senegalese fishermen visited the uninhabited islands before the 15th century, and moreover that they were finally settled and claimed by the Portuguese later in 1455. Originally used as a place of “degredados,” or convicts and other exiles from Portugal, Cape Verde soon became a site of Portuguese settlement and marked the start of the African diaspora in the Atlantic. Women from Senegal, Nigeria, and Guinea Bissau were sent to the Cape Verdean islands to balance the population and to procreate to establish an actual community. With the start of the high demand of slaves needed in the New World after Christopher Columbus (re)discovered the islands of Hispanola, and Cuba amongst others, African slaves were conditioned and Christianized in Cape Verde before they were sent to the Americas. This keynote and significant fact has often been excised from the history of the Black Atlantic slave trade and thus forgotten or worse, not even recognized or acknowledged; thus causing many misconceptions and misunderstandings of the history, society, and especially the culture of Cape Verdean people.
Looking at the incorporation of West African and Portuguese cultures and ideologies throughout the archipelago of Cape Verde, it is apparent that the formation of a singular definition of Cape Verdeanity is complex and complicated. Within this work is a search to find the definition of Cape Verdeanity through literature, music, and dance across the islands. By looking at and analyzing these forms of art, ethnicity and society are displayed in their truest form, no longer hidden by the world’s view or an individual’s perception or perspective. Therefore, literature, music and dance do not depict only an aspect of Cape Verdeanity, but rather the depictions become the definitions of Cape Verdeanity.

Culture Defined

Culture is defined firstly through language; Cape Verde is no different. The Protuguese creole, or krioulu, is “an immediate blend of Portuguese and West African languages like Wolof, Mandinga, and Yoruba.”2 In a conversation with a native, it has also been explained as “a classic example of the mixed reality of Cape Verde because creole is predominantly Portuguese in vocabulary but its form has a remnant of African roots” with its structure and intonation.3 Perfectly stated, it is clear that the history of Cape Verdean cultural existence has always been syncretic and that there has not been a strict dichotomy of European and West African culture but rather everything in between the two; thus creating something new and unique. Although it could be argued that this mixture which creates this very uniqueness or specialness is evident within all the countries affected by the African Diaspora in the Americas, such as Haiti, Cuba, and Brazil, Cape Verde is different, if not only by its location and direct association with Africa. Cape Verde is part of Africa, not solely by mere emotional attachment but more importantly by its origins.

The degree of African characteristics, elements, and identities varies from island to island. For instance, since Santiago was the first island to be settled and populated, there is more African influence compared to the island of Brava, which had more European influence. Meanwhile, early in its existence class stratification was implemented to prove that
skin colour defined everyone’s position on the social scale: the white, irrespective of class or even convict status, was lord and master in relation to the free black or slave. The slave was in subjection. The freedman stood between them.4

Furthermore, it is noted that with the three classes (whites, mulattos, and blacks) the whites were always at the minority and at times blended into the group of mulattos (who both owned land), while blacks comprised the other half of the population and were either slaves or vagrants.5

It is this dynamic of ethnicity that creates an ever present realization of being “Other”, not solely African and neither Portuguese. This is shown on every level of society and especially through culture. In the arena of literature this is also apparent through the different forms as well as different groups and affiliation and different eras.

Classical Literature in Cape Verde

Araujo proclaims with its creation of on the island of Sao Nicolau in 1866, the Seminary managed by intellectuals and philosophers, was “destined to endow Cabo Verde with a literary and intellectual life unparalled in the history of the Portuguese overseas.”6 Undoubtedly, the Seminary did prove to do this. At this time the preferred and accepted language is Portuguese and not the crioulo that is spoken by the native population, consequently literature is not embraced by all and most likely is not appreciated by the because of this exclusivity. Araujo states,
Moreover, Portuguese, and not Crioulo, was the accepted language of communication, and the literary emphasis, Classical by its Latin underpinnings, was also Classical by the adherence to the traditional values of Portuguese letters.7

Shortly after the emergence of the Seminary, the intellectuals became interested in the culture surrounding them and realized that local issues and interests such as native dialects and music should be addressed. So in effort to display culture within the institution the Almanach Luso-Africano was established in 1894 and 1899. Not only did it include Classical prose but also works in Crioulo dialects representing many islands within the archipelago.
One of the first writers to emerge independently and represent Cape Verde in literary works was José Lopes da Silva. He proclaimed himself as the poet of Cape Verde but in his poems there seems to be a paradox because he avoids many of the islands’ problems by having a universal and humanitarian approach. Critics have said that he disassociates himself from Cape Verde by typically portraying his harsh childhood in an autobiographical way that is not necessarily relative to the masses. Notwithstanding, Lopes describes himself and other poets as “the translators of the sentiments of peoples and races, the exponents of the connective soul and the interpreters of its sorrows and joys.”8

Relating to this depiction of a poet, Pedro Monteiro Cardoso emerges at the end of the Classical period with a particular style that satisfies the old Classic style of writing while initiating something new. (“Cardoso frees himself of the overweening influence of Classicism and cultivates a more spontaneous, more creative poetic technique”9) What Cardoso begins is extraordinary and revolutionary, first by drifting away from “continental” Portugal and deciding to focus on the islands themselves. Then Cardoso begins to write in Crioulo, which may have started as his own style to be different but actually in turn set the path for many writers to follow. Doing this, Cardoso begins with poems for the people of his native island of Fogo but then includes works that address the needs of the archipelago as a whole entity. Thus, Cardoso is noteworthy for establishing “the intrinsic value of Cape Verdean social and cultural phenomena in the face of a prejudiced attitude which accepted as valid only that which came from continental Portugal.”10

Eugénio Tavares proved to be equally influential in terms of reaching toward a new literary style around the same time in the early 1900s. Still acknowledging Lopes’ definition of a poet’s role of being the “collective soul”, Tavares presented his works with a vibrant and quite different flare. Primarily, he presents his literature to the average Cape Verdean, not particularly for the intellectual who has studied at the seminary or had some formal education. Thus, it was thought that he not only spoke the language of people but also sang and danced the language of his people. Mainly written in prose, morna, or poetry Tavares infused the notion of romanticism into his literary works which was new to the literary scene. In pieces like “O Pescador” (The Fisherman) and “Mal de Amor” (Love’s Sickness),11 Tavares describes true Cape Verdean life not to exemplify hardships but rather to show that one could enjoy life irregardless of circumstance with the stability and love of family. On the other hand he concludes that the sea is a negative force: one, because it makes Cape Verde isolated from the rest of the world and thus creates a feeling of abandonment. More importantly, because the sea creates an ironic and quite paradoxical situation, where Cape Verde is an insular setting yet there is never enough water because of the lack of rainfall to sustain agriculture and a sufficient way of life. Moreover, Tavares believed in escaping from the islands in order to advance so that one could return later with a better knowledge of how to survive in the island.

As a result of the contributions from Tavares and Cardoso, literature became more appealing to others, especially for writers who were searching for a new way of writing outside of the Classic view. With that being said it is no surprise that writers later known as Claridosos were first intrigued by the Presença movement (1927) in Portugal, which called for a “violent dissociation from prevailing literary fashions” as well.12 Though a change in the themes of Portuguese identity and structure in literature was achieved, this review was not completely relevant to the Cape Verdean writers or its society; something was still missing; something was needed to call their own and so a movement was organized to show pride in one’s own identity not another’s. To get to this point one had to relinquish the old ideals that were strictly embedded in Portuguese oppression and find an identity that is both true and liberating. Coming to this very conclusion were the writers involved within the Claridade Movement.

The Claridade Movement
Claridade, or “clarity”, is exactly what the Claridade Movement was portraying. The main objective of the review was dedicated to social realism; portraying life how it was by describing and emphasizing the harsh reality of Cape Verdean life. Hence, Manuel Lopes, Jaime de Figueiredo, Manuel Velosa, Baltazar Lopes da Silva, Joao Lopes, and Jorge Barbosa founded the review in 1936.13 Each member contributing to the cause whether it was through publicity, artwork, or actual literary work; becoming known to the public as Claridosos. Though it took much help from these intellectuals and other participants, it was mainly the literary works of Manuel Lopes, Baltazar Lopes da Silva, and Jorge Barbosa that provided the strength, edge, and creativity that made Claridade more than a review but an actual literary movement.
Manuel Lopes was born on the island of Sao Vicente in Mindelo in 1907, but attended school in Portugal for a period of time before returning to Cape Verde. When he collaborated with Lopes da Silva and Barbosa, he was well versed in both Portuguese and in the local vernacular, having written in prose and poems. He mainly focused on themes of escape and the sea, believing heavily that Cape Verde is “a source of cultural values despite the archipelago’s obvious limitations”14 Therefore, cultural significance should not be based on the size of a place. One of his most appreciated works Os Flagelados do Vento Leste (Victims of the East Wind) was published in 1959. Baltazar Lopes da Silva, born on the island of Sao Nicolau in 1907, was a writer and poet, similar to Manuel Lopes, who had written works in both Portuguese and Crioulo. On the contrary, at times he is more dense and profound but less aesthetic. He enjoyed analyzing the Cape Verdean mind and heart and its reaction to oppression of economic factors, wanting more than to skim the superficial layer of Cape Verdean people and issues.15 His work that is the most known and recognized as the greatest novel of Cape Verde is Chiquinho. Notwithstanding, the most influential of the three founders was Jorge Barbosa, who was born on the island of Santiago in 1902 but later moved to Mindelo where he attended school. Although he was a writer, he was more fluid in poetry and certainly designed his own style of writing it; using realism, letting go of the rhetoric metrics. Thereby he replaced the old style with rhythms and free verse, which later influenced many others to follow his lead. While, they had some differences in upbringing and education Lopes, Lopes da Silva, and Barbosa cooperated to make history within the realm of literature and Cape Verdean society.
One of the ways in which the Claridade movement expressed liberation from the classical era was to have the preference in expressing ideas as well as writing and publishing them in the local vernacular. In agreement, José Luis Hopffer Almada states,
The Creolisation of Portuguese was one of the possible ways of making Cape Verdean literature autonomous and was one of the most salient features of enlightenment and one of the major signs of its continuation in the Cape Verdean fiction which ensued.16

Though formal acknowledgement and validation of Crioulo was revolutionary, the Claridade movement contributed more to society than that great favor. More importantly, the movement brought attention to the issues pertinent to the people of Cape Verde. The realistic and blatant expression of the life of many is what illuminated this movement and marked it significant and special. Covering themes such as poverty, isolation, “tellurism”, hunger, emigration, and sodade, amongst others it is no wonder society could and had no choice but respond to this; it culminated all of those deep sentiments that apparently all could relate to; it explained their history, modern era, and their hopes for the future.
Though simply stated these themes were the life descriptions of many, all of them connecting in a way that is quite amazing. To begin, because of its location in the Atlantic, the Cape Verde islands experienced many things. For one, its convenient location allowed for colonization by the Portuguese and easy passage to the New World; yet simultaneously, its position is not at all convenient for the growth of any crops because of the wind that prevents adequate rainfall. Without rain, natural sources of food through vegetation and agriculture cannot grow and neither can the people sustain any comfortable livelihood.
With its location alone, there have been classic conflicts of “man versus man” and “man versus nature,” where colonization proved to be oppressive and the actual position of the islands proved to be an imperfection in its convenience. Furthermore, being surrounded by the sea created an insular setting that has attributed to the islands’ uniqueness yet the islands isolation from the rest of the world. One writer explains,
…in the canon of literature of Cape Verde, insularity has been one of the most fundamental and repeating themes, and the isolation of the small community…unknown and unknowing of the ‘big world, can be read as an expression of the claustrophobic self-containment of the islands, if they do not open to the world.17

Also the notion of being completely surrounded by the sea all the while experiencing major droughts that kill huge numbers within the population is mystifying yet unfortunate.
These misfortunes have led to even more grave circumstances from an economics and sociological perspective. Aside from the limited ability to produce sufficient crops like sugar cane and corn, there have not been any consistent forms of employment besides fishing and whaling. With sustenance of the family required, men especially have often decided to work outside of their native island and in some cases work outside of the Cape Verde Islands, like in Sao Tomé or Portugal, for example. This has created the feeling that emigration is essential to have a comfortable lifestyle or even more so to support one’s family. Furthermore, in a dissertation the author explains, “Cape Verdean sense of self (either individual or collective) is nomadic, and diaspora is a way of life.”18 And though this may have provided a solution to hunger and livelihood, this has led to many wives left at home to care for the family while the husband is away and feelings of sodade, or longing to return to his home and family begin to surface. Hence, the old adage “Corpo ta sai, alma ta fika” (the body leaves, but the soul remains).

Nonetheless, through literature after the emergence of the Claridade movement life was depicted in its lucid state, thus revealing many harsh realities and circumstances. For example in the poem “Emigration,” Barbosa provides detailed circumstances of men working both on land and in the sea and how the conflict of man versus nature is relevant.19 It also depicts how hardship is never curable but rather the pain can be managed through palliative measure like dance, yet and still music and dance do not rid one of melancholy sentiments but rather hide them under façades of joy for a period of time. All the while, underlying is the desire to leave, to emigrate somewhere. Barbosa elaborates on this aspiration in “The Sea”,
The Sea forever inviting
Us to escape!
This despair of wanting to leave but having to remain. 20

However, the movement was not solely based on sharing hardship and over exaggerating the relativity of the social tribulations in Cape Verde, but it also advocated for change individually and politically. For example, with the launch of the Négritude movement which embraced the Pan-African approach to literature, writers took a closer look at their African heritage and began to acknowledge a Black pride. This notion is exposed in the poem “Black Mother”21, where Africa is portrayed as the mother and Cape Verde as the son who is protected by his mother. In Across the Atlantic: An Anthology of Cape Verdean Literature, the editor explicates this as not only stressing negritude but also as using mother and land as a metaphor “to the African continent in an invitation to the Cape Verdean people to look for the African roots of their culture.”22 Simultaneously, embracing an “African” identity in totality was not true to Cape Verdeanity. One writer asserts this, “given the hybrid nature of the Creole culture of the archipelago, this gesture of recovering ‘pure’ African roots would be unbalanced and biased as the simple copy of European models.”23 Although later in the text the author mentions,
“The reference to witchcraft and divination is an anti-colonial self-assertive move in so far as the belief in these practices diminishes the impact of Catholicism, and its implied European/colonial influence. To deny the first is to resist the second, upholding the bonds to the African continent and its systems of knowledge, the influence of which shaped the context of postcolonial self-assertion, to reclaim the African half of the hybrid identity of Cape Verde is a way of creating distance from Lusophilia and its corresponding alienation from a suppressed black self.”24

Evidently, something that was distinctly Cape Verdean needed to be created and acknowledged. To achieve a strong grasp on unique identity in entirety and erase confusion, Cape Verdeans needed to be free from Portuguese control; they needed independence. Therefore, the Claridade movement perpetuated (at least within the intelligentsia) a political movement that called for a need in independence from the colony which did not support the land nor the people much besides in using it for maritime activities, sexual conquering, and perfect proxies for the rest of the lusophone colonies in Africa. Even though, there were only nine issues of the review between 1936 and 1960, apparently Claridade had a strong enough effort to affect those before and after independence.

The New Generation: Pro-Cúltura Movement

After independence in 1975, it concluded more than 500 years of colonization, thus 500 years of control over social, economic, and political growth. Hence, during the early post-independence era in the 1980s, literature had not stopped being profound and noteworthy but rather its significance heightened. In the poem, “Our Flag,” Arménio Vieira exalts the feelings of freedom, and the pride that accompanies it.25 He exclaims that emigration is now unnecessary because with freedom, the flag as proof, Cape Verde is their land. One of the differences was that this new wave of mainly attracted younger writers and so they became the New Generation of Cape Verdean writers. Also this new generation unified to establish a Pro-Cúltura movement which called attention “to further artistic and cultural creation”26 within Cape Verdean literature. With the intent of being proactive with establishing significance to Cape Verdeanity, the movement proved not to solely focus on the continuity of the development of Cape Verdean literature. In addition, writers in this movement were still interested in Cape Verdean folk literature, which provided a view of true Cape Verdeanity before the question of identity had arisen. In spite of these cultural advancements, social and economic issues did not cease when the Portuguese relinquished their control over the islands.

Illuminating and Exuding Reality through Music and Dance

Music and dance provide what literature could not; accessibility to all. Unlike literature, music and dance can be celebrated by all of the community. Though some musical and dance forms are appreciated by particular audiences, more often than others there is no prerequisite in participating like with literature. For instance, to enjoy literature one must be literate (and for some works literate in Portuguese) and more so one must be able to afford to purchase the work. On the other hand, to engage in music and dance it is often a community event that does not involve money. Simultaneously, music embraces the very sentiments and essence of themes within literature, yet it calls for more feeling. Furthermore, dance embodies these same sentiments, bringing them to flesh.

To begin, there are several forms of musical styles that are prominent on the islands of Cabo Verde. These styles vary from island to island and further show the diversity of the islands. Illustrating this, Ramiro Mendes an ethnomusicologist from the island of Fogo mentions,
you see, to give you that absorbing rhythm, first comes the rhythm which anyone from Fogo can identify with, as the main type, neither ‘samba’ nor ‘mazurka,’ then comes the island’s expression, in a certain way the harmony to be able to portray the sentiment and soul of Fogo.27

Moreover, on the more African influenced islands (mainly those located in the Sotavento), musical and dance forms which are popular are funáná, bataku, finason, and koladeira. While on the more European islands (mainly those located in the Barlavento) morna, waltz, mazurka, and contradan, more Euporean influenced styles are appreciated.28
On the island of Santiago, which has the most African influence the dance of batuku is the most popular. Mainly performed by girls with few dancing and usually one singing and the remainder beating a drum like instrument to create a beat, this dance has been used for political and social outcries as well as typical dance throughout the community. At one point the Portuguese attempted to ban batuku, calling it “the devil’s music and devil’s dancing”29 because of its sexual expression. Though embodying more of this sexual expression is the dance form of funáná, which can be compared to dancehall familiar to the Caribbean islands.
Nonetheless one of the most popular, just as in literature, is the morna. Morna, is sad, slow, and reminiscent of fado from Portugal. In song the morna allows for the same message of sorrow and tribulation of reality yet, it embraces sound and exuberates a voice to all of this meaning so that one could not only hear but also feel the soul of another. One who has embraced this concept in every way imaginable is Cape Verde’s most known singer, Césaria Évora. Her classic song entitled “Sodade” among several others, cries the passion and sentiments that have been felt by fellow natives of Cape Verde; thus singing songs for her people. Évora has played a significant role in the spread of Cape Verdean music on the local and international level, primarily putting Cape Verde on the map and later becoming the “Queen of World Beat.”30

Spread of Cape Verdean Music and Culture

Évora has also opened the doors for other Cape Verdean artists to emerge and exhibit more of Cape Verdean culture, though none are comparable to her style and legacy. One of these young artists is Mayra Andrade, who is only 22 years old, and is certainly following in the footsteps of the Queen of World Beat. Andrade’s album, Navega, released in June 2006 has been critically acclaimed in Germany, France, and England. She covers the issues within the traditional style of music but explores creative ways to express these issues, thus making smooth, sultry sounds that can only grab the attention of all. In the song entitled “Lua” (“Moon”), she asks the moon to shine on her so that she could feel closer to the heaven. Eloquently stated, the moon illuminates both the light and the dark, so the moon is not prejudiced on who can be illuminated and no one is abandoned; and thus Andrade expresses how nature can remove some social ills. On the other hand, Andrade further depicts the complexity of nature and how it can cause great hardship in the song “Navega,” where the life of a fisherman is viewed.31


Implications

Because of globalization, there has been an enhanced interest in and appreciation of world music, especially the music of Cape Verde. Certainly, Césaria Évora has set the path but it the continuity of interest in Cape Verde lies in the hands of the new generation including artists like Mayra Andrade, Lura, and Sara Tavares. Nevertheless, this generation contributes to the expansion of Cape Verdean culture and portraying its uniqueness to the entire world.
Notwithstanding, it is about time that the world brought its attention to Cape Verde, which has been forgotten for so long. If not merely for the fact that the success of the New World would have been non-existent if it were not for its location, Cape Verde should be recognized. The islands’ connection to the African Diaspora is significant, especially with the heightened interest in African Diaspora studies and the Black Atlantic. Let us not forget all of the components that made the Middle Passage possible; because the reality is that slaves did not leave the West Coast of Africa and suddenly arrive in the New World but rather the Cape Verde Islands provided a resting place in order for the voyage to continue for centuries.
Also with more awareness and recognition of the islands, an appreciation of the culture and the people could emerge so that more research could be done on this magnificent island. Possibly the world’s best kept secret will be revealed so that all could enjoy and contribute to its likeness. Currently, there is a disparity in the research done in English, with the last influential works having been written in 1966 (Araujo) and 1984 (Meintel).
Lastly, analyzing Cape Verde opens doors to other Black lusophone arenas, such as those in Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, and Brazil. At the same time, looking at how diverse the islands of Cape Verde, at the least explains that although lands that were colonized by the Portuguese have several similarities, distinct differences set them apart from one another. This perpetuates the uniqueness of each area and further distinguishes the need to look at how cultural identity has played a significant role in the society, in the past and present, and how it will continue to be significant in the future.

Appendix A: Selected Poems

Emigration32

Brother

You crossed Seas
in the adventure of whaling,
in those voyages to America
where ships might not return.

Your hands are callused from pulling
the shrouds of little boats on the high seas;
you lived hours anticipating
the struggle against storms.
The boredom of endless heat spells at sea
wore you down.
Under the internal heat of furnaces,
You fed coal to boilers
in times of peace
in times of war.

And you loved women of foreign lands
with the heated passion of our people;

On land,
in these poverty-stricken islands of ours,
you are but a man with a hoe
opening irrigation canals for waters of fertile creeks,
tilling the barren soil,
the ungrateful land
where the rain sometimes hardly falls
where droughts cause affliction
and tragic scenes of famine.

You go to dances with
your
melancholy
hidden under your joy
where you accompany mornas
with some poses of your guitar
or press the loving women against your chest
to the sound of Creole music…

The Morna
is like the echo of the sea in your soul,
like nostalgia for distant lands inviting you the echo
of the voice of desired rain
the echo
of inner voice of all our people,
of the voice of our tragedy that has no echo!


The Morna…
has something of you and of things surrounding us,
of the expression of our humility,
of the passive expression of our drama,
of our revolt—
our silent melancholy revolt!

America…
America is no longer for you.
Its doors are shut to our expansion!
Those adventures on the sea
no longer exist
are those stories about the past that you tell
with your pipe aslant in your mouth
with joyful laughter
―not enough to hide
your
melancholy.

Your destiny…
your destiny,
who knows!

To always live with your back bent over the land, our land,
poor
ungrateful
beloved!

To be swept away some time,
perhaps by the powerful wave of a drought
like one of those little boats of ours
that sail among the Islands
until the Ocean sweeps them away.

Or some other
humble
anonymous destiny…

O humble,
anonymous Cape Verdean
--my brother!



The Sea33

Poem of the Sea

The drama of the Sea
the restlessness of the Sea
forever
forever
inside of us!

The Sea!
laying siege
imprisoning our Islands
eroding the coasts of our Islands.
Leaving its salty enamel on fishermen’s faces
roaring in the sands of our beaches
hurling its voice against the mountains
rocking the flimsy wooden boats that sail these waters.

The Sea!
bringing prayers prayers to our lips,
leaving in the eyes of those who remained
the hopeless yearning for distant lands
reaching us in magazine pictures,
in movie screens,
in the air of other climates brought by travelers
who come ashore to look at our poverty.

The Sea!
the hope for a letter from afar
that may never arrive.

The Sea!
nostalgia of old seamen telling stories of days gone by,
stories of whales that capsized canoes,
of heavy drinking, brawls, and women
in foreign ports.

The Sea!
inside of us
in the Mornas
in the bodies of dark women,
in the agile legs of black women,
in the wish to travel remaining in the hearts
of so many of us!

The Sea forever inviting
us to escape!
This despair of wanting to leave but having to remain!



Black Mother34

The black mother cradles her son.

She sings a remote song
her grandparents used to sing
on nights without a dawn.

“Sing, sing to the sky
so festive and full of stars.”

It’s to the sky that she sings,
for the color of the sky
is sometimes also black.

In the sky
so festive and full of starts there are no whites or blacks,
no yellows and no reds.
―All are angels and saints
held by divine hands.

The black mother has no home
or the kindness of anyone…

The black mother is sad, sad,
and has a son in her arms.

But looking at the starry heavens,
suddenly she smiles—
for it appears that each star
is a waving hand saying hello,
a beckoning full of love…




Our Flag35
Cape Verdean flag:
lifted spirits, definite course,
sacred banner high on the mountains,
cry of the people, cry of freedom!
No sun exists that can burn us now,
no misfortune can make us leave.
Man is greater than his destiny,
our flag the symbol of war on hunger.

“Time to Leave!” will no longer be sung—
no more ships of emigrants;
our flag has become our masts and sails.
the land of CAPE VERDE is our land!

Sacred banner high on the mountains—
red, green, and yellow,
a black star pointing the way—
this is the light that shines for us.

Cape Verdean flag:
lifted spirits, definite course,
sacred banner high on the mountains—
cry of the people, FREEDOM!




Appendix B: Mayra Andrade Song Lyrics


Lua (Moon)


Moon, stay with me a little longer
Let me come close to you
Illuminate me with your gentle glow
Moon: how long has it been
That you light up the world from north to south,
That you give your light to blacks and whites?
Moon: you are so high in the sky,
Above the jujube and the tamarind trees,
Above the soldier’s sword and the priest’s holy water sprinkler!
New moon as young as Ricardina
Rounder than the sumptuous Putchutcha,
More generous than Sheila’s breast!
Full moon, shine on me!
Moon, your full light is in the heavens!


Navega (Upon the Waves)

O how hard it is, the life of a fisherman
The uncertainty of your return makes my heart bleed!
Here I am sitting on the quay from which you left,
With my anguish and the tears of my love for you.
But I don’t lose faith, and with my eyes raised to heaven,
I implore God to make still the waves,
So that you can return with ease,
With a good catch and a little time to stay with me.
A little time when I need worry no more….
The fisherman’s wife stands before the statue of the Virgin,
She lights a new candle each time he sails away.
Listen to the sound of my conch, come back to me,
Do not go away
O sea, o heaven!
Bring him back to me!
Let him return so that he might embrace me once again!




Appendix C: Photographs


Cover of a Claridade Issue



Courtesy of www.instituto-camoes.pt





Members of the Claridade Movement




Courtesy of www.caboindex.com
City of Mindelo








Courtesy of www3.nationalgeographic.com
























Bibliography

n.a. “Cape Verde: the Creation of a Creole Literature.”Diss. 2003, pp.154-179.
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Experience, Second Edition. Ed. Kwame AnthonyAppiah. Ed. Henry LouisGates Jr..

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Ilheu De Contenda in the Emergence of Post-Enlightenment Cape Verde Fiction.”

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Andrade, Mayra. Navega. 9 May 2006. BMG/Song Records.

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1 Neil Ford. “Cape Verde.” African Business. 1 Apr. 2006.
2 Aguiar, Marian. "Cape Verde." Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American
Experience, Second Edition. Ed. Kwame AnthonyAppiah. Ed. Henry LouisGates Jr..
Oxford African American Studies Center. 2008.
3 Mercedes Proctor. Personal correspondence with Maica Vieira. Washington, D.C. 16 Mar 2008.


4 Antonia Carreira. People of the Cape Verde Islands: Exploitation and Emigration.
London: Archon Books, 1982. pg. 23
5 Antonia Carriera. p.22
6 Norman Araujo. A Study of Cape Verdean Literature. Boston: Boston College, 1966. p.12
7 Norman Araujo. p.26
8 José Lopes, Mensagem do ilustre poeta caboverdeano Sr. José Lopes da Silva, dirigida a Sociedade de Socorres
Mutuos “Union Caboverdeana” de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, 1938) p. 5
9 Norman Araujo. p.57
10 Norman Araujo. p. 62
11 Norman Araujo. p.65
12 Norman Araujo
13 Norman Araujo
14 Norman Araujo. p. 114.
15 Norman Araujo. p. 134
16 José Luis Hopffer Almada. “Henrique Texeira de Sousa’s Place and that of the Novel
Ilheu De Contenda in the Emergence of Post-Enlightenment Cape Verde Fiction.”
Africa Review of Books. (December 2005), pp.11
17 n.a. “Cape Verde: the Creation of a Creole Literature.”Diss. 2003, p. 171.
18 n.a. “Cape Verde: the Creation of a Creole Literature.”161
19 Maria M. Ellen ed. Across the Atlantic: An Anthology of Cape Verdean Literature.
North Dartmouth: Center for the Portuguese Speaking World, 1988. pp. 50-51. See Appendix A.
20 Maria M. Ellen ed. pp. 40-41. See also Appendix A.
21 Maria M. Ellen ed. pg.13. See also Appendix A
22 Maria M. Ellen ed. p. iii
23 n.a. “Cape Verde: the Creation of a Creole Literature.” p. 157
24 n.a. “Cape Verde: the Creation of a Creole Literature.” p. 163.
25 Ellen, Maria M. ed. p.23
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Verde. Philadelphia: Diane Publishing Company, 1992. p. 9
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28 Olav Aalberg. “Om kappverdisk musik Cape Verdean Music.” The Leopard’s Man African Music
Guide. 15 Nov. 2002.
29 Mercedes Proctor. Personal correspondence with Maica Vieira.
30 Gus Martins.“World Beat in Her Hands.”Sodade Music magazine. Fall 2006:15
31 Mayra Andrade. “Lua” and “Navega” Navega. 9 May 2006. See also Appendix B.
32 Jorge Barbosa. “Environment.”No reino de Caliban, I. pp.91-93.

33 Jorge Barbosa. “Environment.”No reino de Caliban, I, 1941. pp.97-98.
34 Aguinado Fonseca. Horizon Line, No reino de Caliban, I, 1951. p. 163.
35 Arménio Vieira. Contravento, p.51.

2 comments:

Mickael YUBU said...

very interesting post:

I would like to give a different perspective to some points you have spoken about:

1) Cape verde is the FIRST creole nation of the world. It is there that the concept of Creole nation and the way of life has been invented/created around 1460.
Thus the major contribution of cape verde to the world history is CREOLE GENESIS not slavery.

2) You seem to ignore that anyone born in Cape verde was free. The portuguese law did not allow that someone born in its land was a slave. No one ever born in Cape verde had the status of slave or freedman. Only people captured in Africa were slaves and if they had children their children must not be slave because the portuguese law did not allow that.

3) A third point is the language, the cape verdean creole. It seems contradictory to me to say that capeverdean creole is a mix of portuguese and african languages and then state that more than 90% of its vocabulary is portuguese. If the capeverdean creole is more than 90% based in portuguese then it is a variation of portuguese languague.
The african influence can probably be seen in the phonetics and the pronounciation of the words. But this is an hypothesis that it seems nobody has studied yet.

4) the fourth point is a question. How is culture and identity created? Is it by traditions or by organised schooling by the governments? I for myself think it is the governments that choose the direction for what will be the culture and the identity of its teritories because they control the minds through school and media. I believe that governments don't control traditions which are transmitted from parents to child.
In the case of cape verde, the culture and identity was framed by the portuguese government, by its schools and its medias untill it became an independent state. Concerning the tradition, I believe that there is a mix between african and portuguese traditions. Probably a stronger African tradition because the child were educated by their african mothers.

Mickael YUBU said...

very interesting post:

I would like to give a different perspective to some points you have spoken about:

1) Cape verde is the FIRST creole nation of the world. It is there that the concept of Creole nation and the way of life has been invented/created around 1460.
Thus the major contribution of cape verde to the world history is CREOLE GENESIS not slavery.

2) You seem to ignore that anyone born in Cape verde was free. The portuguese law did not allow that someone born in its land was a slave. No one ever born in Cape verde had the status of slave or freedman. Only people captured in Africa were slaves and if they had children their children must not be slave because the portuguese law did not allow that.

3) A third point is the language, the cape verdean creole. It seems contradictory to me to say that capeverdean creole is a mix of portuguese and african languages and then state that more than 90% of its vocabulary is portuguese. If the capeverdean creole is more than 90% based in portuguese then it is a variation of portuguese languague.
The african influence can probably be seen in the phonetics and the pronounciation of the words. But this is an hypothesis that it seems nobody has studied yet.

4) the fourth point is a question. How is culture and identity created? Is it by traditions or by organised schooling by the governments? I for myself think it is the governments that choose the direction for what will be the culture and the identity of its teritories because they control the minds through school and media. I believe that governments don't control traditions which are transmitted from parents to child.
In the case of cape verde, the culture and identity was framed by the portuguese government, by its schools and its medias untill it became an independent state. Concerning the tradition, I believe that there is a mix between african and portuguese traditions. Probably a stronger African tradition because the child were educated by their african mothers.