Intangible culture: Cape Verdean music in Rotterdam

Museums primarily display objects. But much of what we call ‘culture’ is intangible: it cannot be touched or picked up. In Rotterdam Crossroads, you get to enjoy a short film about an intangible piece of Rotterdam culture: the Cape Verdean music scene of Rotterdam.

Record smuggling

From around 1950, Cape Verdeans started coming to Rotterdam in large numbers to work in the harbour. João Silva, also known as Djunga de Biluca, was one of them. During the fight for independence in his homeland, he wanted to keep his culture alive. And so, he founded the very first Cape Verdean record label in Rotterdam. In Cape Verde, the records released by Morabeza Records were often banned by the Portuguese rulers. Nevertheless, the Cape Verdean sailors had little trouble smuggling the records into the country, so the music could still be heard.

The short film shown in Rotterdam Crossroads contains musical stories by Broederliefde, Djocy Santos, and Arp Frique with Américo Brito, among others. Here, you can to their music to prepare for your visit.