Hip Deep May 8, 2009
Diaspora Encounters: Kriolu in New England, The Cape Verdean-American Story
Of all contemporary Cape Verdeans, Cesaria Evora, "the Queen of the Morna" has made the biggest impression internationally. However the first Cape Verdean to grace the American imagination was the harpooner Dagoo in Herman Melville's Moby Dick (1851). Cape Verdeans first arrived in United States as whalers in the late 1700's and have been coming ever since, bringing a distinctive Portuguese-African Kriolu flavor to communities across Southern New England and beyond. We'll take a step back in time and look at the rich cultural life of Cape Verdean neighborhoods, where great bands played mornas and coladeiras at local social clubs. Our principle guide for this program will be historian Marilyn Halter, author of Between Race and Ethnicity: Cape Verdean American Immigrants, 1860-1965. She'll take us through the years as the Cape Verdean community navigated the turbulent waters of opportunity and identity in America long before the age of American multiculturalism. Then we'll jump ahead and explore current trends from the far-flung Diaspora's thriving music scene, ranging from hip-busting funaná to sleek cabo-zouk. All along, we'll be hearing from Cape Verdean-American musicians, from old-time guitar master Freddy Silva to rising rapper Mo Green, as they reflect on immigration, nostalgia, heritage, and what it means to be Cape Verdean in the United States.