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Album Review

Simentera is a well-respected Cape Verdean group who has kept the traditional morna, coladeira, and fuanana alive by infusing them with fresh soul. The delicately intricate acoustic instrumentation combined with ethereal vocals seems to come from an ancient source. The title track, "Raiz," a haunting wail, tells of roots in the sea and sky and of the love of the soul, their history. As can be heard, the rhythmic foundation of their dances takes its cue from the sea and wind that surround the archipelago. While many Cape Verdean groups are jumping on the zouk bandwagon with top-heavy synthesizers covering older songs, Simentera, meaning the time for sowing seeds, has chosen to use the old acoustic instruments to compose new exquisite songs. They have sown some admirable seeds on this album, revitalizing a music that has been threatened with extinction from more commercial music forces. They have been called the "new face of the other Cape Verdean music and the other face of the new Cape Verdean music." This is notably fresh and pearl-like African music. Highly recommended.


Genre: World

Years Active: '90s

The musical traditions of Cape Verde are extended through the original songs of the nine-piece ensemble Simientra. Led by six-stringed guitar, harmonica, accordion, and percussion player, as well as soprano singer and songwriter Mario Lucio Sousa, the group has added a new dimension to the musical traditions of their homeland. While their songs reflect on potentially depressing issues, the joviality of their music is evident. In a late-'90s interview, Sousa explained, "We are melancholic but it is...
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Raíz, Simentera
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