Legend Of Funana: Forbidden Music Of The Capes
- Artist: BITORI
- Format: CD
- Release Date:10/28/2016
Analog Africa presents a legendary Funana recording by Bitori. In 1997, an unassuming 59 year old man named Victor Tavares, known as Bitori, walked into a studio for the very first time to record something many Cabo Verdean consider to be the best Funaná album ever made. In 1954, he embarked on a journey across the seas to the island of Sao Tomé & Principe with the hopes of returning with an accordion. Following two years of hard labor, Bitori had succeeded in saving enough money to acquire what was to become his most valued possession. The two month journey back to Santiago, proved time enough for him to master the instrument. Self-taught, Bitori developed his own style, an infectious blaze that quickly caught the attention of the older generation. Bitori was asked to perform at local festivities around Praia. But not everybody welcomed the rural accordion-based sound. Perceived as a symbol of the struggle for Cape Verdean independence and frowned upon as music of uneducated peasants, Funaná was prohibited by Portuguese colonial rulers. Performing it in public or in urban centers had serious consequences - often jail time and torture. As a result, Funaná began to slowly disappear. In 1975, Cabo Verde achieved independence from Portuguese colonial rule and along with it came a lifting of the ban placed on Funaná. Many artists embraced Funaná, translating and adapting it's musical form in new ways. It was not to be until the mid-1990s, however, that Funaná in it's traditional form was actually recorded. A young singer from Tarafal, Chando Graciosa, heard Bitori and immediately felt drawn to his playing style - a raw, passionate sound accompanied by honest lyrics that reflected the harsh reality of the Cabo Verdean working class. He approached Bitori suggesting they join forces and travel overseas with the objective of taking Funaná beyond it's rural roots. After travelling, Bitori returned to his beloved Cabo Verde and Graciosa opted to settle in Rotterdam. Graciosa vowed, however, to bring Bitori to Holland to eventually record an album. In 1997, the time was ripe to immortalize the sound Bitori had shaped over a time span of four decades. Drummer Grace Evora and bass player Danilo Tavares helped record "Bitori Nha Bibinha". The recording catapulted Graciosa to stardom, making him Cabo Verde´s No.1 interpreter of Funaná. Bitori´s songs quickly became standards - classics known and loved throughout the country.