I was first drawn to #caboverde when I presented a 3-hour radio program. I could not believe that this tiny nation, off the coast of #westafrica could produce so many world-class musicians. I made my first visit in 2015 after being beguiled by the beautiful, varied music from the island nation as well as the accompanying videos, all of which showed scenery of breathtaking beauty. And, I must admit, after the #Capeverdean singer #SaraTavares who I had emailed, had emailed me back and then asked me when I met her in #london: “You seem to know a lot about #caboverde for someone not from there; how many times have you visited?” The answer was never! So, I had to remedy that. And off we went, heading for #Mindelo in #saovicente, the island nation’s “Island of Culture”.
The warmth of the welcome and the beauty of the place will exceed our wildest dreams; In the first few days of our visit, we were blown away. How could anywhere so small, have so many musicians of such talent that no one has heard of playing in bars and restaurants? Oh, and it’s one of the few places in #africa that still has (lots of) shops selling CDs. Saying they love music doesn’t even come close. You’ll get on a bus and someone clambers on with a guitar, strikes up a tune and folks sing along. You’re there thinking ‘This is beautiful; I wish I knew this song”. Every street – some of the cleanest anywhere – seems to have a cafe or restaurant serving fresh food, much of it seafood, that will have you asking for the recipe. In the evenings, you’re debating which restaurant to head to to check out the live bands (look for signs saying ‘Ao Vivo’).
There are museums and art galleries with stunning exhibitions, all year round. Check out Centro Nacional de Arte, Artesanato e Design (CNAD) at #PracaNova also known as #PracaAmilcarCabral. Or, you can leave the city for secluded beaches of rare beauty – so many, you’ll be spoiled for choice, go fishing with locals or just help them haul in their catch – and get a great discount, too! If you leave without sampling the local specialities, you will have done yourself a disservice. These include ‘Grogue’, the sugarcane-based rum, unique to these islands – I’m teetotal so, I bow to the experts, the ‘national dish’, #Cachupa (a thick stew/broth made with five types of beans plus meat and seafood; dance #Funana or #salsa at a local eatery and make sure you visit the futuristic floating nightclub on Mindelo’s seafront.