Morna, musical practice of Cabo Verde


Your browser is not supported by this application. Please use recent versions of browsers such as Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge or Safari to access 'Dive' interfaces.

Inscribed in 2019 (14.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

© Ministry of Culture and Creative Industries, Cabo Verde, 2018

Morna, musical practice of Cabo Verde is a traditional Cape Verdean musical and choreographic practice with instrumental accompaniment that incorporates voice, music, poetry, and dance. Morna can be either sung or played only with instruments, mainly chordophones, including the guitar, violin, ten-string guitar, replaced with a cavaquinho in the twentieth century, and the ukulele. Several other instruments have now been introduced – such as the piano, percussion and bass – but the guitar remains the preferred instrument. The lyric poetry can be improvised, with topics including love, departure, separation, reunion, longing, the ocean and the motherland. While in the past the lyrics were also composed in Portuguese, nowadays it is mainly composed in Cape Verdean Creole. Bearers and practitioners of the element include instrument players, singers, poets, and composers, who perform, disseminate and transmit the practice to the younger generations. Currently, some bearers are also opening teaching centres, and as a genre Morna is also practised by formal groups. Morna is a fundamental aspect of Cape Verdean social and cultural life, as it performed at key life events, such as weddings, christenings, and family reunions. Transmission has been carried out by the community, through workshops, radio programmes, performances, festivals, and the musical contest entitled ‘Todo Mundo Canta’, which takes place on every island.