The Morna of Eugénio Tavares

  • Music

Eugénio de Paula Tavares is considered one of the greatest Cape Verdean minstrels and the first composer of the “morna”, a melancholic and heartfelt musical genre that, through love poems and melodic chords, carries the Creole soul and lifts the hearts of the Cape Verdean people scattered over the four corners of the world .

This great poet and renowned composer, who knew so well how to intertwine Creole poetry with the melodies of the morna, was born on the island of Brava in 1867.

He sang about the sea, a sea that divides but also unites, the sea of shipwrecks and the sea of escape, a sea with chaotic waves and yet a blessed sea, but, what he sang about best was Love. Who could fail to feel a frisson when they hear the morna “Força di Cretcheu”?

He was a self-taught musician, a devotee of the poems of Camões, but he also played an important role in raising the awareness of the people of Cape Verde regarding the terrible conditions in which most of the islands found themselves. Because of the outspokenness of his newspaper articles, criticizing the injustices perpetrated by those in power, he was the victim of repression. Refusing to live gagged on his native island, he chose to go into exile for ten years in America, where he was to found the newspaper “Alvorada” [Dawn] in 1900, the first Portuguese language newspaper published in the United States of America. During his ten year exile, drawing inspiration from his yearning for his homeland and his love, who he left behind, he applied his poetic talent to the composition of several mornas, singing about “Sodade” [homesickness], the “Partida” [Departure] and “Hora di bai”.

With the establishment of the Republic in Portugal in 1910, Eugénio Tavares was to return definitively to Cape Verde. Encouraged by Republican ideals, he offered his support to the first Republican governor, Marinha de Campos, and worked for the National Press, editing the newspaper “A Voz de Cabo Verde” [The Voice of Cape Verde].

Returning to Dja Braba in 1922, he dedicated his time to poetry and composition, leaving us a valuable collection of mornas that are still sung in serenades and performed by young Cape Verde artists.

Towards the end of his life, he edited in Portugal a collection of his mornas in Creole, under the title “Mornas – Creole Songs”.

In addition to his poetry in the lyrics of the mornas and his newspaper articles, Eugénio Tavares also wrote a few plays and several short stories.

He passed away on June 1, 1930, leaving a feeling of emptiness in the hearts of the people of Brava and the whole of Cape Verde that only his eternal mornas can ease.

A statue was built in his honour in the central square of Vila de Nova Sintra, and his home in Nova Sintra was converted into a museum about this great poet.

Eugénio de Paula Tavares is considered one of the greatest Cape Verdean minstrels and the first composer of the “morna”, a melancholic and heartfelt musical genre that, through love poems and melodic chords, carries the Creole soul and lifts the hearts of the Cape Verdean people scattered over the four corners of the world .

This great poet and renowned composer, who knew so well how to intertwine Creole poetry with the melodies of the morna, was born on the island of Brava in 1867.

He sang about the sea, a sea that divides but also unites, the sea of shipwrecks and the sea of escape, a sea with chaotic waves and yet a blessed sea, but, what he sang about best was Love. Who could fail to feel a frisson when they hear the morna “Força di Cretcheu”?

He was a self-taught musician, a devotee of the poems of Camões, but he also played an important role in raising the awareness of the people of Cape Verde regarding the terrible conditions in which most of the islands found themselves. Because of the outspokenness of his newspaper articles, criticizing the injustices perpetrated by those in power, he was the victim of repression. Refusing to live gagged on his native island, he chose to go into exile for ten years in America, where he was to found the newspaper “Alvorada” [Dawn] in 1900, the first Portuguese language newspaper published in the United States of America. During his ten year exile, drawing inspiration from his yearning for his homeland and his love, who he left behind, he applied his poetic talent to the composition of several mornas, singing about “Sodade” [homesickness], the “Partida” [Departure] and “Hora di bai”.

With the establishment of the Republic in Portugal in 1910, Eugénio Tavares was to return definitively to Cape Verde. Encouraged by Republican ideals, he offered his support to the first Republican governor, Marinha de Campos, and worked for the National Press, editing the newspaper “A Voz de Cabo Verde” [The Voice of Cape Verde].

Returning to Dja Braba in 1922, he dedicated his time to poetry and composition, leaving us a valuable collection of mornas that are still sung in serenades and performed by young Cape Verde artists.

Towards the end of his life, he edited in Portugal a collection of his mornas in Creole, under the title “Mornas – Creole Songs”.

In addition to his poetry in the lyrics of the mornas and his newspaper articles, Eugénio Tavares also wrote a few plays and several short stories.

He passed away on June 1, 1930, leaving a feeling of emptiness in the hearts of the people of Brava and the whole of Cape Verde that only his eternal mornas can ease.

A statue was built in his honour in the central square of Vila de Nova Sintra, and his home in Nova Sintra was converted into a museum about this great poet.

Autoria/Fonte

Armando Ferreira - 2011 -

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