Journey of a Badiu: The Story of Cape Verdean-American Musician Norberto Tavares

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This documentary video focuses on Cape Verdean-American musician Norberto Tavares, a bandleader, social activist, and humanitarian who was influential throughout the Cape Verdean Diaspora. For thirty years Norberto Tavares acted as the social conscience of this West African island nation, making his people think about social and political life in Cape Verde as the nation made the transition from a Portuguese colony to a free Democratic republic. Tavares brought the strong African sounds of rural Santiago to the national identity, and raised awareness of the plight of the disenfranchised through his songs. The documentary begins with rehearsal for a major music festival in Praia, Cape Verde, and then moves to the Cape Verdean-American communities of New Bedford, Massachusetts, where Tavares struggled to make a living as a freelance musician. It traces Tavares’s musical career back to its source of inspiration: the traditional funana and batuku musicians living in Santiago, Cape Verde. Tavares used his music to comment on problems in Cape Verde, and one of the sub-themes in the film explores tensions between women and men in Cape Verde today. The documentary ends with Tavares’s highly celebrated performance for some 40,000 fans at the Festa da Gamboa in Praia, Cape Verde on May 21, 2005. Shot on location in Cape Verde and New England.


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