Every spring Praia hosts two music events, the Kriol Jazz Festival and the Atlantic Music conference. The Jazz festival kicked off the weekend of April 15 and 15 showcasing local talent. It than took a break for the Atlantic Music Expo April 16-19 and on the evening of the 19 (just as we were leaving) the Jazz Festival continues through the following weekend.
Cape Verde had a strong tradition of mixing music. It’s in the perfect location to do so, off the coast of Africa with strong ties to both Europe and Brazil. And don’t forget the US. Jazz pianist Horace Silver and Duke Ellington’s Sax man, Paul Gonsalves are of Cape Verde origin.
It was frustrating that we arrived the day the festival started up again but were leaving too early to enjoy most of it. We did get a taste when we sat in on the sound check and rehearsal of two groups, Marcha do Alfama from Lisbon and Bulimundo from Cape Verde. We heard some good music and saw some great jazz dancing. Kids in the Praça danced along. This year’s festival has artists from Africa, Europe and the US, including one of my favorites Stanley Clarke. Between rehearsals in the Praça there was some jamming at the table next to us in the café where we were enjoying a beer.
I am thinking some year we need to come here for a couple of weeks in April.
The Atlantic Music Expo is about the business of music with workshops on how to break into the market in the Americas, digital marketing, digital distribution of music in Africa, how to break in as a brand in hip-hop and how to prepare for a tour, among other topics. In the main city square there were booths set up by different music companies, music instrument distributers, agents, music licensing agencies, African clothes makers and even a Cape Verde – Chinese music friendship group. (The Chinese are everywhere in Africa, building stuff, in Cape Verde they are building a University.)
We roamed the booths and picked up some CDs and tips on music to download once we get home that will probably make it on the air when Suzi does “Song lines” or if I sit in on “Trans Global Music Express” on Raven Radio. We also had a nice chat about music connections between Brazil, Angola and Portugal through Cape Verde.
There is a live music stage in the middle of the trade fair. We checked the schedule and thought we could catch the first set on this stage before we had to be back to the ship. The mics, speakers and monitors were set up. The videographer had his tripod and mic set up but no musicians showed up. A couple of guys with guitar cases came by, looked at the stage and checked the schedule, shook their heads and walked off. Not their turn yet. Regretfully we had to leave for the ship. There are advantages and disadvantaged to being laid back.