EventsLecture and Presentation: Musical Genres of Cabo Verde

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Lecture and Presentation: Musical Genres of Cabo Verde

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Central Library in Copley Square


There’s an old saying which states the Republic of Cabo Verde Islands are home to a greater number of musicians per square kilometer than any other country in the world. In truth, such a claim may be impossible to prove. But there is a certain factual accuracy behind the legend: the important and proud relationship the Atlantic island country of just 500,000 people has with music. Situated roughly 350 miles off the west coast of Africa, Cabo Verde has long been a mesh of cultures, history, and races. The former Portuguese territory was once a key location for the transatlantic slave trade, a target for 16th century pirates and a refuge for exiled Jews. From this diverse melting pot were born the unique sounds of the distinct musical styles (source: CNN Feature - "Cabo Verde: Tiny islands where 'people breathe music'").

In this talk, Dr. Luis M. Barros will cover the ethnomusicology aspects, attributes, and sensual dances and how they contribute to the Lusophone culture both on the islands and the world. He will speak about the breadth, depth and unique qualities of music that originates from this tiny group of islands in the Atlantic. His overview of several different styles of music, including morna, coladera, funana, and batuque, will showcase their “exquisite lyrics of desire, delicate feeling, passion and longing, sweet melancholy, haunting melodies, and pulsating rhythms.” 

For example, the morna was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for Intangible Cultural Heritage at the end of 2019. This international heritage list contains strictly selected intangible traditions that are so special that they must be protected. World Music.Net proclaims: “the unique sound of this archipelago set adrift 600km off the coast of Senegal, although small its diverse musical heritage has become internationally acclaimed…sweet melancholy of morna through to the dance rhythm of funana and batuco, with influences from the waltz and contra-dances of Europe and the rhythms of Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean”.

Dr. Luis M. Barros, a native of Cabo Verde who lived in Portugal, before emigrating to the United States. He is the Founder and Chairman of LusoMundo Institute ("LMI"), a Massachusetts nonprofit corporation, specializing in Lusophone ethnomusicology. His work in the sector, includes consulting with LaFace Records (acquired by SonyBMG), serving as a consultant to Grammy-Award winning producers; and collaborating with leading World Music labels in representing artists at leading Performing Arts Centers (PACs), Commercial Venues and Festivals – that were eventually signed ICM (now Opus 3 Artists) and Columbia Artists Management (CAMI). He is a former disc jockey and radio broadcaster and SAG-AFTRA member since 1991.

Barros has a career as an investor, entrepreneur, and serves on the faculty team at MIT. This program will be moderated by Bradley Turner, a PhD Candidate at MIT and radio disc jockey specializing in international music, with years spent navigating the airwaves under the moniker The Unbounded 1 at WAER Syracuse, WRFI Ithaca, and WHPK Chicago. Bradley has lived in and studied the music of Central and South America, developed a keen interest in hispanophone and lusophone music, and music of the African diaspora generally, including the study and play of African percussion traditions. He is a Fulbright fellow with degrees from MIT, The University of Chicago, and Syracuse University.

Registration is not required; instead, seating is first come, first served. We plan to open doors 15 minutes in advance of the program.

Accessibility Notice: We strive to make our events accessible. To request a disability accommodation and/or language services, please contact the Adult Programs Department at or 617-859-2129.
Please allow at least two weeks to arrange for accommodations.

Programming like this is enabled through the generosity of a variety of public and private funding. To learn more and support our programming, visit the Boston Public Library Fund website.

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Older Adults
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