Skip to content

Songs of the Badius

primary_youtube_id: 9VBiyLIIJxk
Extract 2
Extract 3
Extract 4
Extract 5
Cape Verde
Electricity didn’t arrive on Santiago Island, Cape Verde, until 1971. This film is a look at the “pre-electric” forms of Badius music and dance that survive on the island.
Physical formats available:
Digital formats available:
Quicktime (Pro Res)
Audio & visual:
Sound, Color

The Badius are descendants of runaway African slaves and Portuguese colonists, and their music reflects this mix of heritages.

One of the genres featured is batuku, a women’s dance, which comments on local events and people. We see Bibinha Cabral, age 86, give an incredibly energetic, extemporaneous performance. She also explains her approach to batuku and the way it is taught.

Another genre, funana, is a sensuous dance style that was frowned upon by the Church for its sensuous movements, and by the government for its subversive lyrics.  We see several well-known musicians playing at various events.

But the highlight of the film is male batuku singer Antoni Denti d’oro, who has performed for over 50 years in a lively, comic style. His talents are in demand for many occasions, and though he worries that he’s too busy, he says he’ll perform batuku until “I’m picked up at the house and dropped off at the cemetery, dead.” 

The film showcases the fiercely independent spirit of the Badius as it comes through, loud and clear, in their music and dance.

Producer, Director & Narrator: Gei Zantzinger
Cinematography: Thomas Ott
Editor: Ben Levin
Sound: Gei Zantzinger
Music and Dance
Global selection of music and dance films and titles.
Constant Spring Productions
Ethnomusicologist Gei Zantzinger was an independent filmmaker and student of folklore who began making films in Africa in 1966, collaborating with musicians and other notable ethnomusicologists and filmmakers. His career in the social sciences spanned nearly 50 years. Gei’s efforts resulted in a broad collection of 17 extraordinary films made between 1966 and 1997 that examine the roles that oral traditions, music and dance play in preserving and informing personal, cultural and spiritual identity in disparate communities around the world.