Blog July 25, 2019
Watch: "A Sweet Pain" on Cape Verde's Rebel Synthesizer Music

When Americans think of “protest music,” we think acoustic guitars—“four chords and the truth” sort of stuff. When Cape Verde was fighting for its independence from colonial Portugal in the '70s, the soundtrack was synthesizer funana—or so the story goes.

The Vinyl Factory posted a sort of mini-doc movie about the lost synthesizers that washed ashore in Cape Verde, and were stashed in a church per the advice of Amilcar Cabral, a leader of the guerrilla forces fighting to expel the Portuguese. Bound for an electronic music exposition in Brazil, the Moogs, Farfisas and Rhodes instruments instead were played over funaná beats, creating futuristic but unmistakably Cape Verdean music. A fantastic compilation of this music came out on Analog Africa in 2016.

The video allows that maybe the story about synths on the beach is perhaps half myth, and they've done some dramatic restaging of the events, but it features the real life voice of Pedrinho Vieira whose band Voz de Cabo Verde played on at least half of that Space Echo compilation. It's a musical revolution that coincided with a nonmusical one.

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