Brown Arts

Kriolu Voices Sounding: Cabo Verdean / American Music and Politics in Rhode Island

Jan. 27 - Feb 17, 2024
A series of events that sparks dialogue between Cabo Verdean and Cabo Verdean American scholars, activists, and sound artists.

An IGNITE Series Campus Project

Curated by Ruby Erickson (Ph.D. candidate, Musicology and Ethnomusicology) and Allessandra Soares (Executive Director, CACD)

Kriolu Voices Sounding is a series of four vibrant panel discussions and participatory creative workshops. Topics include Music as Reparations, Cabo Verdean Kriola Feminism, Revolutionary Soundscapes, and Black Atlantic Musical Resonances. Guests include composers, vocalists from many traditions, a DJ, hip-hop artists, scholar-practitioners, and activists. The series was conceived as a collaboration between the Brown Arts Institute and the Capeverdean American Community Development Center, in a beginning gesture towards repair for Brown’s complicity in the gentrification and displacement of the Cabo Verdean Fox Point community. Kriolu Voices Sounding aims to build mutualistic relationships, to offer rich conversations, and most importantly celebrate the vibrancy of the musical, political, and scholarly life of Cabo Verdeans and Cabo Verdean Americans in Rhode Island and surrounding areas.

Kriolu Voices Sounding is organized by Ruby Erickson and Allessandra Soares and features collaborating artists Abel Djassi Amado, Candida Rose Baptista, Charles (“Chachi”) Carvalho, Jose (“DJ Big Joe”) DaMoura, Carlos (“Calu di Guida”) Moreno, Silas Pinto, Aminah Fernandes Pilgrim, and Perry Lee (“Tiny”) Tavares.

Kriolu Voices Sounding Poster

Panels & Workshops

Reparations & Representations: Re-Sounding Cape Verdean Musics in Fox Point is a panel conversation and body percussion workshop with Tiny Tavares and Silas Pinto at The Lindemann Performing Arts Center, Riley Hall.

This first panel centers on the history of the Fox Point neighborhood in Providence - a historically Cabo Verdean neighborhood which was razed and gentrified by the city, and by Brown University, throughout the 20th century. Our first guest is Tiny Tavares, member of the R&B-funk-soul supergroup the Tavares, who grew up in Fox Point and witnessed the Cabo Verdean American community’s vibrant musical and cultural life firsthand. Tiny will be joined by Dr. Silas Pinto, a racial justice leader in Providence who has recently worked on reparations research and policy. Together, they will dream about sonic and political repair for the Fox Point community. Following their conversation, Dr. Pinto, a Mestre of Brazilian capoeira martial arts, will lead a batuku workshop centered around community resilience, following the guiding metaphor of the Cabo Verdean terreru, a community gathering space for sonic and civic participation. For the workshop, Dr. Pinto (Mestre Tigri) will be joined by his colleagues from Grupo Ondas Viajantes: instrutora Quati (Nichole Pinto) instrutor Polvo (Joshua Amarelo), and graduado Arraia (Joe Velez).

*Note: Tiny Tavares will participate in the event remotely; all other events are fully in-person.

Digital Program


About the Artists


Tiny Tavares Headshot

Perry Lee (“Tiny”) Tavares

Tiny Tavares is the youngest of six Cape Verdean brothers from Providence, RI who formed the superstar R&B group Tavares. The group’s musical proclivities were influenced by their father, Feliciano “Flash” Tavares, and their aunt, Vickie Vieira, a dynamic musical duo at the heart of the Fox Point Cape Verdean American music scene in the mid-20th century. The Tavares group went on to record more than 13 albums including several gold and platinum records and won a Grammy Award for “More Than a Woman” on the “Saturday Night Fever” soundtrack, which is among the greatest selling albums of all time. Tiny and his brothers continue to perform their hits like “Heaven Must be Missing an Angel” and  “Don’t Take Away the Music” to sold out arenas throughout the world. Tavares has recently shared the stage with Jason Derulo, the Temptations and the Four Tops, John Legend, Smokey Robinson, Keith Urban, and Stevie Wonder, among others.

Silas Pinto

Dr. Silas Otniel Rodrigues Pinto/Mestre Tigri’s versatile career is a testament to his dedication to our communities and to justice. Dr. Pinto is currently the inaugural Director of the Department for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in the City of Providence where he works across departments to further integrate principles of fairness and justice in the City’s practices, procedures, and policies. Dr. Pinto is often known as "Mestre Tigri," the visionary founder of the only Capoeira group in Rhode Island, Grupo Ondas, and serves to this day as the only Capoeira Mestre of Cape Verdean descent. His multifaceted contributions continue to foster positive change throughout Rhode Island by working to address systemic barriers, so that people can exercise their inherent cultural wealth and power.


Silas Pinta headshot



“Kriolas Poderozas”: Afro-Descendant Feminisms in Cabo Verdean American Music and Life is a panel conversation and hands-on workshop between Candida Rose Baptista and Aminah F. Pilgrim at the Capeverdean American Community Development Center.

The second panel in this series is named after the groundbreaking book Kriolas Poderozas (2021), which collected essays by and for Cabo Verdean women, including the major topics of this panel: musical creativity and Cabo Verdean / Kriola feminist politics. This panel’s first guest is Candida Rose Baptista, a songwriter, educator and entertainer based in New Bedford, whose research centers on Cabo Verde - U.S. musical transnationalism, including the women who work to maintain that tie. We will bring Candida into conversation with Dr. Aminah Fernandes Pilgrim, a professor at UMass Boston whose research includes Cabo Verdean women, Kriola feminism, and hip hop studies; she co-founded the PODEROZA conference on Cabo Verdean women. Baptista and Dr. Pilgrim will discuss gender politics and music in Cabo Verdean America, and lead a workshop drawing on Dr. Pilgrim’s hip-hop experience and Candida’s “KabuJazz” (Cabo Verdean - Jazz) sound.

Online Program


About the Artists


Headshot of Candida Rose

Candida Rose Baptista

Born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, “Candida Rose” Baptista is a 2nd generation American-born Cape Verdean. She is a vocalist, song-writer, entertainer, music and cultural educator, as well as a mother and grandmother. She recently graduated from UMASS Boston with a Masters of Science Degree in Transnational, Cultural, and Community Studies (now known as Critical Ethnic and Community Studies). Candida’s musical work is multifaceted: in addition to her work with various jazz, R&B, and Cape Verdean musical groups, through her company Golden Rose Music, Candida works as a Life Enrichment Entertainer singing for Nursing Home, Assisted Living and Adult Day Care facilities. Her most recent album, “Here I AM!” (2023) documents her spiritual journey.

Aminah F. Pilgrim

Aminah Fernandes Pilgrim is a visual artist, author, community organizer and award-winning educator. She is senior faculty in Africana Studies at Berklee College of Music. Her 20+ years of research and teaching at diverse institutions including UMass Boston, Morehouse College, Boston University, and Massasoit Community College includes late 19th and 20th century African-American history, African Diaspora, African-American women, Cabo Verde, hip hop studies and critical education research. She is the co-founder of Poderoza Conference, and SABURA Youth Programs. Her books include:

Kriolas Poderozas (2021)

Systemic Racism 101 (2022)

Economic Growth and Democracy in Post-Colonial Africa (2022)


Headshot of Aminah Pilgrim


“Return to the Source” Amílcar Cabral’s Kriolu Pan-Africanist Politics and the Rise of Batuku and Funaná is a panel conversation and hands-on workshop with Calu di Guida and Abel Djassi Amado at the Granoff Center for Creative Arts.

Panel III focuses on the music that surrounded Cabo Verde’s revolution for independence from Portugal (1961-1975), especially the musical genres of batuku and funaná, which came to symbolize revolutionary sentiment and pride in African heritage. Our first guest on this panel is composer Carlos “Calu di Guida” Moreno, who grew up in the batuku and funaná traditions of the island of Santiago and uses these influences to write music in the revolutionary tradition. We will bring Moreno into conversation with Dr. Abel Djassi Amado, a professor at Simmons University who researches PALOP (Portuguese-speaking African) countries, language policy, and the politics of decolonization. Their conversation will reveal the threads that entwine the Cabo Verdean Creole (Kriolu) language and music with a politics of resistance. After the conversation, Moreno will work with audience members to compose a funaná of their very own.  

Online Program


About the Artists


Carlos Moreno Headshot

Carlos (“Calu di Guida”) Moreno

Carlos Alberto Gonçalves Moreno, born in São Domingos (Santiago, Cabo Verde), had early contact with music due to his familiarity with figures such as Codé di Dona, Ntóni Denti d’Oru, and Ano Nobo, of whom he considers himself a disciple. Since coming to the U.S. in 1989, he has played with the Os Pecos Band, toured in Portugal with Norberto Tavares, played with Gardénia Benrós, and produced the Midju Terra project. Moreno is also a prolific composer and lyric poet, especially in the Santiaguense traditions of batuku and funaná music. Since 2021, he has been a part of a vibrant collaboration known as the Terreru Music group, with Jacinto Fernandes, Maruka Tavares, Djinho Barbosa, and Djoy Amado.

Abel Djassi Amado

Dr. Abel Djassi Amado, a native of Cabo Verde, is an associate professor of political science and international relations at Simmons University. With a focus on postcolonial Africa, his research delves into the intricate intersections of politics and language, as well as the politics of national liberation with a special emphasis on the legacy of Amilcar Cabral. Amado's scholarly contributions are highlighted by his book Creole Language, Democracy, and the Illegible State in Cabo Verde, which explores linguistic and political dynamics in a Creole island state. As the current president of the Boston-based think tank Cabo Verdean Center for Applied Research (CVCAR), he passionately champions Cabo Verdean studies, fostering awareness and understanding of his nation's rich heritage and contemporary relevance.


Abel Amado Headshot


Black Atlantic Resonance In Cape Verdean America is a panel conversation and listening session with José DaMoura and Chachi Carvalho at the Capeverdean American Community Development Center.

The final panel is inspired by Paul Gilroy’s description of connections between Black and African descended people across the world as a  “Black Atlantic.” The panelists will converse about genres like Cabo Verdean Kriolu rap, Cabo-zouk, and Cabo Verdean reggae, which demonstrate musical collaborations between Cabo Verdean and other African diaspora communities. This panel’s first guest is Jose DaMoura, a DJ who hosted the radio show Cape Verdean Afro Beat for decades, and is now directing the Cape Verdean Museum in Pawtucket, RI. Our other panelist, Chachi Carvalho, fuses Black American and Kriolu forms and language in spoken word poetry and Kriolu rap, bringing new vitality to both; Chachi’s deep roots in the Rhode Island community have recently landed him a role as Pawtucket’s Chief Equity Officer. Following their conversation, our panelists will lead a listening session of the songs and sounds most influential to their lives and careers.

Online Program

About the Artists


Jose DaMoura Headshot

Jose “DJ Big Joe” DaMoura

Jose DaMoura was born on August 30, 1973, in Assomada, Santiago (Cabo Verde), and moved to South Providence, Rhode Island at the age of six. He attended the University of Rhode Island and completed a year of graduate studies at Brown University before taking a leave of absence to welcome his first and only son Antonio DaMoura. He has served as an AmeriCorps member, taught in the Providence school system, and worked at the Providence Public Library. Today Jose is the Volunteer Executive Director of the Cape Verdean Museum. He also founded and produced the Cape Verdean Afro Beats Radio Program on 90.3FM, which he ran for 30 years before he left to focus on his position at the Museum.


Charles “Chachi” Carvalho

Chachi Carvalho is a multi-talented artist, educator, coach, and activist who comes from a long line of musicians and singers. He is a native born and raised Rhode Islander with roots that stem from the island of Cabo Verde. He has won acclaim for MCing from Vibe Magazine and in BET’s 106 & Park competition. He is locally recognized for community advocacy, education and youth empowerment. He is the co-owner of Beat Box Studio, founder and artistic director of the Culture Shock Music Festival, a staple in the local music scene, and a loving husband and father. During the day he serves as the first Chief Equity Officer for the city of Pawtucket. He is also a member of the Brown Arts Institute’s Artistic Innovators Collective, focused on curating three major events at The Lindemann Performing Arts Center.



Chachi Carvalho Headshot



Event Videos

In the News

Curator Bios

Meet the Curators of Kriolu Voices Sounding!

Headshot of Ruby Erickson

Ruby Erickson

Ruby Erickson is a Ph.D. student at Brown University in the Department of Music. Her scholarly interests include music, migration, and diaspora; economic ethnomusicology; voice studies; and engaged research methods. She recently completed my M.A. in Musicology and Ethnomusicology at Brown with a paper theorizing new connections between voice and diaspora scholarship, citing case studies from Cabo Verdean American vocalist interlocutors. In collaboration with her mentor and interlocutor Candida Rose Baptista, she also just released the first season of a collaborative podcasting project, Sounds from the Eleventh Star.


Allessandra Soares

Born and raised in Providence, Allessandra Soares is a Cape Verdean American, a second-generation immigrant, and a first-generation college graduate. Mrs. Soares graduated from University of Rhode Island in 2014 with a B.A. in Political Science and Africana Studies. In spring 2022, Mrs. Soares joined the higher education community as the Academic Program Coordinator at Brown University’s Watson Institute. There, she coordinates and implements programs for students, focusing on inclusion and community outreach. Allessandra is also the Executive Director for the Capeverdean American Community Development Center, whose mission is “To connect, enrich and advance the Cape Verdean Community of Rhode Island.



Headshot of Allessandra Soares

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