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B. Leza Record Studio

Adão Ramos: Mùsico - Compositor - Vocalista

Bem contòm cretcheu di meu
Pamodi bo bai bo dtchòm mi so
O k’e k’ta ser de mim
Sem bo sorriso sem bo carinho sem bo amor
Ta lembrom kel dia so mi ma bo
Bo flàba mi nuca màss no ta deixa
K’and um corda k’um otchàbo na nha lado
K’um comprende k’era so un sonho
Um fala nha pesadel pàl bà anda sete mil òne
Sete mil dia dpois pàl bem bafòm


Dtchòm bai nha terra spia nha Mãe mà nhas irmom
Dtchòm bai Cabo verde tem tcheu temp k’um ka oial
Nhas gente djòm bai até um dia se Deus quizer
Oi mamãe abri bos bròce bo recebe bo fidje querido
Tchga la era um mar de alegria
Um pove sàb ke na mund ka tem
Simpatia d’um pove sem igual
Um’ otcha  tcheu sabura djòm ka kria nem torna bem

Ò Deus di Ceu porque ess diferença ke tem
Entre homens na Terra
Uns ta kme d’màss ots ta morre d’fome
Ou ta deixa ses terra
Pa bai pa terra longe
Bà procura vida, mas quale vida
Sel sk’ce se cultura perde se identidade
Na mei di mar e ceu, ou na terra stranha
El perde sperança às vez el perde vida
Imigração bo e ingrato
bo separòm de tud nhas famìlias
Nha terra nha cultura

Um vess pove de Cabo Verde
Tàba vivê sima irmõ
Agora ka tem umanidade
Sò rabulice e intentaçom
Oi fidje di nòs terra
Ond’ê k’ no bà k’noss tradição
Um vess união era realidade
Agora el’ê so um recordação
Ka tinha nenhum pove nes mundo
Nem li nem la nem màss pra la
K’tà vivê si ma noss
No tà vivê si ma irmõ / sàb
Um vess noss amor era profundo
El’era màs grande el’era màs sabi

Na Cabo Verde club bo ka ta bai
Pamod ‘ la e tcheu d’criol
Na mei d’criol bo k apode ste
Dja bo sk’ce onde k’bo nasce
Moreninha di nha terra
Goza bo vida sem problema
Passa sàb mà kem bo kre
Oia kel la e bo direito
So ca bo sk’ce d’kel terrinha màss sabi
Kel sabura sem igual
Ote na mund bo ka t’encontra
E so pa bo k’un kre canta Moreninha


Na momento de despedida
Teus olhos abrotano
Meu coração perturbado

No meu peito abalado
Meu coração perturbado
Choras por ti linda flor

Chora chora minha partida
Nesta hora de amargura



Interview with Adão Ramos07 May 2005

A music professional 
in the émigré community

While still young, he left Cape Verde in search of a better life abroad, taking with him his love of music, a legacy from his grandfather who encouraged him to build his first guitar with strips of bare wood when he was a child. Today, Adão Ramos lives from his music, has his own recording studio and has four records in his résumé, including his debut album, Moreninha, for which he is best known. He continues to wave the flag of traditional Cape Verdean music, but respects all other styles and reminds more critical voices that young people have a right to experience their day and age.

- Interviewed by Constânça de Pina -

- You’ve lived away from Cape Verde for a long time, and few people recall the image of Adão Ramos. Could you tell us who Adão Ramos is?

- Adão Ramos is a Cape Verdean born on the island of São Nicolau who lives in Italy, a musician who emigrated and settled in this European country in 1978. I began my professional artistic career as soon as I settled in Italy. I released my first record in 1983, entitled Moreninha, with the participation of various Cape Verdean artists, such as Tchiss Lopes, for example. From there we formed a group which we called Tropical Sound. Recently I’ve begun working with artists from Cape Verde and the African coast, such as Ondina Santos and Paola Cabral (Cape Verde), Laurent Digbeu (Ivory Coast) and Ousin Diop (Senegal).

- Does this mean that you discovered your knack and taste for music abroad?

- No. When I say that I began singing in Italy, I mean on a professional level. Here in Cape Verde, specifically on the island of São Nicolau, I would “manufacture” my own guitars with pieces of wood where I would play my songs, even though I was still just a young boy. I’ve always loved singing. But in Italy I began playing and singing professionally.

- Did you have any influences at home or from a relative who sang, or was your love of music rooted in your subconscious?

- My grandfather was a fiddle player, but when I was born he was no longer playing because of his age. But I think that music is something that’s always been in my blood, it just took some time for me to become a professional.

- You’ve released a number of CDs, and you play and sing professionally. Does this mean that you’ve made music your profession? In other words, is it what supports you?

- Yes, I currently live exclusively from music. I have a recording studio and we do various performances. It’s in my studio that I record my CDs, but also those for other artists from Cape Verde and other places.

- What is your favorite musical style?

- All my works contain all genres of Cape Verdean music, including coladeira, morna, funaná. But because there I play more for Europeans than for Cape Verdeans, we’re obliged to play a little bit of everything, although I prefer morna and coladeira. 

- Who composes the songs on your CDs?

- The songs on my CDs are almost all my own compositions. I like to write whaty I’m going to sing.

- And what is your source of inspiration?

- I talk a lot about the émigré community. In fact, in my most recent work there’s a morna entitled “Raiz,” which speaks of emigration not just of Cape Verdeans but in general. I discuss my situation as an émigré and my life in my works.

- And what’s it like to live off music in Italy? Do you just perform or are there other ways of promoting and publicizing Cape Verdean music?

- We normally play in street festivals and in dance clubs. At this time of year we play one or two performances a week, but during the summer, especially between June and September, we play almost daily.

- How do people, including the considerable number of Cape Verdeans who live in Italy, react to your music? 

- There really are a lot of Cape Verdeans living in Italy, but in our street performances it’s mostly foreigners, Italians, who watch. Cape Verdeans like to go to Cape Verdean parties or go to our shows when we organize them in dance clubs. In these two cases we play for a mostly Cape Verdean audience. But when we play on the street, people of all races can be seen.

- How do Cape Verdean artists live in Italy?

- It’s very hard for an artist to live off music in Italy. This is because the work system does not allow it. There are artists who record CDs but, because of their jobs, can’t do promotional shows. For example, if an artist schedules a concert in the cities of Rome or Milan he’ll have to miss at least three days of work, considering the fact that he has to leave before the show and will return the day after. It’s very complicated to reconcile work and music.

- So they’re part-time artists...

- Unfortunately that’s the way it has to be. Of an artist has to be brave enough to choose to live the artistic life and face the risks and difficulties of this profession.

- Is it profitable to live exclusively off of music? In other words, do you manage to live with a certain level of comfort or without major problems?

- It’s very hard. In my case, this happened after many years. I did all sorts of work before choosing to live just off music. This took place only about ten years ago, when I felt that if I didn’t choose to live off music I wasn’t going to evolve.

- Throughout your career, which has spanned several decades, how many records have you managed to put on the market? How has the sale of these CDs been?

- I can say that my CDs have sold well, but I sell more to Europeans than to Cape Verdeans. This is because, in my opinion, we don’t have a distribution network here in Cape Verde. We sell our CDs mostly during the concerts we perform throughout Italy and other European countries.

- And how many CDs have you recorded?

- Personally, I’ve recorded just four CDs. But I’ve participated in various other CDs by other artists, for example, Thciss Lopes, Tchininho, Ondina Santos and many others.

- Which of your four CDs best defines you as an artist?

- I think that Moreninha, my first work, is still a reference. I am touched because whenever I come to Cape Verde I hear the songs on this CD. I was on the island of Sal a week ago to attend the Santa Cruz festivities, and the CD Moreninha was playing in the food and drink stands, and I even asked some people if they weren’t familiar with the other CDs. It is precisely because of this acceptance that I re-released the song “Moreninha” on my most recent CD, entitled Cola na mim, released in Italy last December.

- Do you think that this “obsession” with Moreninha could be related to the lack of publicity for your other CDs in Cape Verde?

- Indeed, it may just be my most well-publicized CD in Cape Verde. Like I said before, there is no CD distribution network here in our country. The CDs that do make it here, I believe, are brought by other artists or by émigrés.

- Right  now, are you here on vacation or promoting Cola na mim?

- I came primarily to promote my CD, and I’ll take advantage of being here to take a short vacation. Unfortunately I won’t be performing any concerts, because I didn’t come with my group, Tropical Sound, and I don’t like to sing to a backing track. But I’ve contacted a number of music houses to see if they’re interested in distributing my work, mainly because people tell me they really liked Cola na mim

- Tell me a little about the CD Cola na mim.

- It’s a CD with eleven tracks, essentially mornas and coladeiras. But there’s also a funaná, a colá san-jon and a holiday song in the São Nicolau style. The CD features Ondina Santos and Paola Cabral, on voice, Laurent Digbeu, guitar, Papy Tell, bass, Mustapha Mbengue, percussion, and Ousin Diop, drums. The CD was presented in December last year and, in collaboration with the Institute of Communities and the Cape Verdean embassy in Italy, I decided to channel ten percent of the sales profits to the children of Cape Verdeans in São Tomé and Prínciple who, according to what I’ve learned, are facing serious difficulties. It’s a CD with a hint of solidarity.

- At a time when a number of artists criticize what they see as the corruption of Cape Verdean music, you present a traditional CD. Comment on this.

- I think that everything in live must evolve, and Cape Verdean music is no exception. Of course we should preserve traditional music, but we can’t ignore new innovations and technology. Young people also need to experience their day and age.

Interview with Adão Ramos