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Finding the Best Live Music in Cape Verde

There are a wide variety of reasons to love Cape Verde holidays – its beaches, its people, its food and drink, its climate… and of course, its incredible music. Because of its diminutive size, favourable climate and turbulent colonial history, this cluster of islands is a smorgasbord of a wide variety of styles of music, with heavy Portuguese, Brazilian and African influences.

Traditional styles of local music such as morna, funana and coladeira have been exported to the world at large through the melodic voice and famously bare feet of the late, great Cesária Évora, who popularised Cape Verdean music in the late 80s. Nowadays, a whirlwind of local bands and musicians continue to follow her example by delighting tourists and locals alike every night of the week. Here are a few insider tips on the best venues in the archipelago – and the type of music you can expect to find there.
Cabo Verde - Ile de Santiago

Funana Casa de Cultura, Santa Maria, Ilha do Sal

Named after one of the popular styles of local music, Funana is a great place to take in live acts on Thursdays and Sundays. The weekend offering is especially recommended, since it comes accompanied with the option of a luxurious buffet. Watch your caipirinha intake, however – they pack quite a punch!

Morabeza Beach Bar, Joao Questao, Boa Vista

 If you like your entertainment set against the backdrop of the dying rays of a spectacular sunset, Morabeza is the place for you. Traditional African music is accompanied by tribal dancing and fire-eating to provide an experience overflowing in culture and history. The bar is accessible by a lengthy beachfront stroll or through arrangement with your travel agency.

Casa Café Mindelo, Rua Governador Calheiros, 6, Mindelo, Sao Vicente

This centrally-located hotel/café/restaurant/bar is a tourist Mecca for its great pastries, its exquisite bafas (snacks), its friendly service and, of course, its fantastic live music every day of the week. Housed in a beautiful historic building overlooking the bay, Casa Cafe Mindelo plays host to lively, pulsating musical acts throughout the week and even accommodates festivals and cultural events on occasion.

Quintal da Música, Avenida Amilcar Cabral, Praia

You know a place is good when even the locals make a reservation to come and listen to the live music, right? That’s exactly the measure of quality you get when you frequent Quintal da Música. Throbbing Cape Verdean beats are accompanied by a friendly, laid-back atmosphere and tasty offerings from the kitchen.

Ocean Café, Rua 15 Agosto, Santa María, Sal

For those overwhelmed with the sheer energy of local music and looking for something a little closer to home, Ocean Café offers more familiar rhythms. Blending in 80s classics with European smash hits and a smattering of native tunes to remind you where you are, Ocean Café has delicious cocktails, a different musician every night and even throws in free popcorn for all!

Festival Music

Of course, if work commitments allow it, you could tailor your holiday around one of the many music festivals which are scattered throughout the calendar and showcase the best of local and international talent. Here are a few important names and dates to keep in mind:

  • São Vicente Carnival – February
  • Gamboa Festival – 17/18/19 May
  • São Vicente Baia das Gatas Festival – August Full Moon
  • Santa María Festival/Municipality Day – 11th & 12th September

Whenever you do visit, you’re bound to fall completely and hopelessly in love with this hidden African gem and its effervescent musical legacy. Fast emerging as a popular destination for tourists of all ages, Cape Verde is finally breaking into the mainstream consciousness of the global traveller. What better time to visit and soak up its rich heritage and vibrant atmosphere than now?

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