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Djalunga


DJALUNGA - Biography

 

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Bõa Vista was the economic capital of Cape Verde and its Sal Rei port located on a sheltered bay was a flourishing trade centre. It was in Bõa Vista that morna was born, a sweet and nostalgic style that informs the archipelago's musical reputation today...

Unhappily, the Sal Rei bay inexorably silted up over the years and the colonial authorities decided to establish themselves on the island of Santiago where they founded Praia, today's capital. At the start of the 19th century, English shipping companies who were looking for a better port of call to provide supplies founded the port of Mindelo on the island of São Vicente where the Porto Grande bay could hold up to 50 ocean-going vessels. At this point, Bõa Vista gently slipped into oblivion.

 

Bõa Vista is the second island of Cape Verde in surface area, but unlike its nearest neighbour Santiago, it is very flat. Its climate is one of the most arid in the archipelago: it is like a piece of the Sahara lost in the Atlantic Ocean. The goats brought on ships over the centuries devoured vegetation to the roots and today constant wind blasts the earth under the burning sun.

Passing tourists admire the dunes, oases and sea - admirably suited to sailing and surfing - but life on the island is a continual struggle. The only living thing able to thrive in these hostile conditions is a plant: the djalunga. Because it stabilises the soil and feeds flocks of sheep, it has become a symbol of resistance. A symbol of life, of survival...

 

Djalunga is also the name of one of the best musical group in the island - by using this name they want to express the difficulty of a musician's life in Bõa Vista. The island has no music shops supplying equipment, no concert halls and small audiences... Musicians regularly leave the island because it is a long way from anything, even the rest of the archipelago. Neither the competition among Praia's groups nor the intensity of musical life in São Vicente since the success of "diva" Cesaria Evora have so far spread to Sal Rei.

 

Amor fingido is Djalunga's first recording and also the first CD made by a band from Bõa Vista. Recorded in live conditions, it reproduces the atmosphere of a tocatina* held by the group in a little café near the harbour. Bõa Vista morna is different to São Vicente's in its phrasing and harmonies, but the nostalgia it expresses is the same. Its roots are solid… like those of the plant djalunga.

 

* tocatina: a more or less improvised gathering of musicians

 

 

Album “Amor Fingido” - CD Harmonia 023042


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