sara tavares: musical poems in crioulo

July 6, 2007 § Leave a comment

Sara TavaresI heard Sara Tavares on NPR this morning, and it just blew me away. She is 26 years old, and she was born in Portugal. Her parents are from Cape Verde. She uses the influences of the various people that come together in that region and in her own family to create a musical form which she has described as a cathartic process for herself; a way to make sense of the world around her.

Well, I would say that the music she is creating extends far beyond herself. The songs, which are guitar based, are sung in crioulo- a creole language of the Cape Verde region which arose out of the contact between African slaves and Portuguese traders. However, the language continues to evolve as Tavares adds in her own variations; floating the lyrics on the gentle melody as they make sense to her. In addition to the lullaby-like melodies, the music pumps out drum beats which reference people’s resistance and resilience in times of severity. As Tavares explained, during the slave trade, the Africans weren’t permitted to beat drums. Instead, they had to use whatever was available, including their own hands, laps, and feet, to create the rhythm.

Listen to the piece on Tavares and sample music from her album Balance here.


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