I was fortunate to have the opportunity to immerse myself in the vibrant culture of Cape Verde, an island nation located off the west coast of Africa. My friend and UNWTO senior communications manager, Kojo Bentum Williams, invited me to attend the annual Kriol Jazz Festival in Praia, the capital city of Cape Verde.
This festival takes place every April and celebrates the unique blend of African, Portuguese, and Brazilian cultures that can be found in Cape Verde through diverse music performances.
Excited to resume my outbound travel lifestyle, I researched my flight options and decided on Asky Airlines, which flew from Accra to Lomé, Dakar, and finally Praia. Upon arrival, I was warmly welcomed by our host and tour operator, Divania Fortes, also known as Cabo Verde specialist, and was escorted to my beautifully designed budget apartment near the beach.
That evening, I attended the Kriol Jazz Festival at the city center, where people from all over the world gathered to enjoy the music. Harmonia Lda, in partnership with the council of Praia, organized the festival to promote Creole-inspired music from various islands such as the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, Europe, and Africa.
The festival featured several talented artists such as Dee Dee Bridgewater, a three-time American Grammy award-winning jazz singer and actress, and French jazz, pop, and soul singer Asa. Other musicians included Tcheka from Cape Verde, Leudji Luna from Brazil, Doctor Prats from Spain, Bamba Wassoulou from Mali, and Orchestra Baobab from Senegal, providing a wide range of traditional, jazz, blues, and soul music.
I also had the honor of meeting the mayor of Praia, Hon. Francisco Carvalho, and discussed mutual interests in the areas of trade, tourism, and human capital development. After the festival, I took the opportunity to explore the country’s volcanic islands. Cape Verde consists of ten islands and several islets, divided into two groups: Barlavento and Sotavento. Barlavento includes Santo Antão, São Vicente, Santa Luzia, São Nicolau, Sal, and Boa Vista, while Sotavento comprises Maio, Santiago, Fogo, and Brava.
I learned that the country’s currency is Escudo, and their cuisine consists of popular dishes like Cachupa, a stew made with cora, beans, and fish, and fresh seafood platters. Overall, Cape Verde’s relaxed and laid-back lifestyle centered around family, community, and tradition was an unforgettable experience.
I highly recommend attending the Kriol Jazz Festival to anyone who loves music, culture, and travel.