Antonio Sanches – Buli Povo! (RSD)

13. March 2018

At the end of the 1970s, the Cabo Verdean band Bulimundo released the first record featuring modern renditions of funaná. The impact was massive, and suddenly a style of music that had almost disappeared under Portuguese colonial rule was back in full force. Bulimundo’s records encouraged a whole range of musicians to start recording their own funaná songs creating a whole new musical movement on the islands.

One of the strangest and most fascinating funaná records to emerge from this period was Buli Povo by António Sanches. Recorded in Lisbon with the legendary Voz de Cabo Verde the album is a synth-drenched journey to the outer limits of Cabo Verdean popular music; and the unlikely story of how this unique record came to be made is inseparable from the story of Cabo Verdean history and culture in the twentieth century.

From the very beginning, Cabo Verde found itself at a strange and remarkable crossroads of cultures. The small Atlantic archipelago some four hundred miles east of the West African coast was completely uninhabited until the middle of the fifteenth century when António de Noli claimed it for the Portuguese crown. With the establishment of colonies in the new world, Cabo Verde became an essential stop on the slave trade route between West Africa and Brazil; and while the flow of slaves would eventually cease in the nineteenth century, the mixture of African, Portuguese and Brazilian cultures would lay the foundations for the unique music of the islands.

As the Portuguese empire began to crumble in the aftermath of the second world war, it redoubled its efforts to hold onto whatever was left. Starting in the early 1960s, Portuguese colonies on the African mainland had started to fight for their independence. Although there was marginally less civic unrest on Cabo Verde leading up to its eventual independence in 1975, the colonial powers exerted their waning authority by attempting to suppress any expressions of the islands’ indigenous culture. One of their biggest targets was music, specifically the raucous, riotous sounds of funaná.

Funaná is particular to the island of Santiago, the result of a chance encounter between instruments and cultures. The gaita, a type of diatonic button accordion, was a well established part of Portuguese musical culture when it first arrived in Cabo Verde at the beginning of the twentieth century. The instrument was highly portable and loud enough that it wasn’t drowned out by the sound of dancing. It became immediately popular throughout the islands. The other main ingredient of funaná was the ferrinho, an iron bar scraped with another metal object, usually a kitchen knife. When the ferrinho and the gaita – both rhythmic instruments at heart – start pushing each other to feverish intensity, the results are as intoxicating as they are inescapable.

The instruments may have been European, but the fiery, driving rhythm was distinctly African, and the wild fury of the dances that accompanied funaná musicians were not merely physically suggestive, they were the rebellious expression of a people who refused to be kept in chains. More than any of the other musical styles which had developed on Cabo Verde, funaná was a call to freedom. It’s no wonder that the colonial rulers did their best to wipe it out entirely.

In the capital city of Praia, funaná was banned completely. Anyone who tried to play it could expect to be arrested, incarcerated and sometimes even tortured. It survived up to a point in the smaller towns and villages of Santiago – the rhythm was too deeply ingrained in the people to disappear completely – but most professional musicians, dependent on the clubs of the city for their livelihood, began to focus on coladeira and morna, which had been deemed acceptable by the authorities. By the time Cabo Verde became an independent nation in 1975, funaná was all but extinct.

With the ban lifted, gaita and ferrinho players raised in the funaná tradition started to come out of hiding. Even in the new de
Erscheint am 21.04.2018