With a history forever intertwined with the trade winds, the music from the Cape Verde islands is always changing, always incorporating new sounds, while somehow maintaining a strong identity. Elida Almeida, for instance, stands in that most-Cape Verdean of traditions, the Cesaria Evora-esque songstress, while welcoming in the production work of Kenyan artist/producer Blinky Bill, who produced the latest single, “Nha Bilida,” for her new album Gerasonobu, out on Lusafrica.
The album’s title translates to “New Generation,” Almeida claiming her place at the front of Cape Verdean song in the 21st century, but the subject matter of “Nha Bilida” is an even-newer generation behind that one—drawing from Almeida’s anxiety on becoming a new mother at 16.
The Blinky Bill production does a great job of taking the characteristic Cape Verdean rhythms, and sliding them from cavaquinho onto more universal piano and synth lines. Bill here brings the buoyant feeling of his own work to a wholly different place, somehow surpassing the sum of its formidable parts.