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Tcheka

Maio Biodiversity Foundation
The name Manuel Lopes Andrade may not be well known to all, but he is one of the most promising artists in Cape Verdean music, more commonly known as Tcheka. He has a very successful career which started ten years ago, doing concerts that have taken him to all four corners of the world as well as four well-received albums.

The latest album from this singer/songwriter is called Dor Di Mar and is about Ribeira da Barca, a small fishing village in Santiago and the suffering that the people of this beautiful coastal village have endured.

"The reason for the title is to draw attention to the increasing erosion of nature in this particular place, and especially the sea, which is part of my experience and informs all the good memories I have from childhood," explains the artist who even today despite living in Praia and travelling constantly, maintains close contact with the island where he was born.

Maio Biodiversity Foundation
AN ODE TO R1BEIRA DA BRA CA

Tcheka says his "heart and soul" is still in Ribeira da Braca, where he goes frequently to revisit places, people and memories of "a good time and a happy and carefree childhood". And whilst he is nostalgic for his childhood, he recognizes that life is incredibly hard for the women of the land struggling to earn enough to feed their families.

"I see the local women, with their children, painfully earning their daily bread by harvesting the sand and conclude that this is not a dignified livelihood," Tcheka reflected. He understands though that it is the only way in which they can earn enough, but is saddened by this fact as not only is it very difficult for them, but it also has serious environmental consequences.

This motivated Tcheka to write his latest album Dor di Mar and through his music, Tcheka recalls that once, in a not too distant past. it was the sea that gave sustenance through fishing and other related activities, but that now things have changed enormously, with the islanders having to earn their living by causing environmental damage to the island, because therein no other choice or means of income.

"So Dor di Marina tribute to nature and the sea, which is my world, and to the women of Ribeira da Barca, but is also a reminder to those people who have an obligation to help solve these problems but do not" he concludes.

But Dor di Mar is also a story and a journey, because it is a work that has ben considered over a long period of time as Tcheka was distressed by what was happening in Ribeira da Barca for a long time. "This situation was already bothering me for quite some time and challenged my sensibilities of Cape Verde. as a person connected to the sea and a member of a small community which has influenced my life" confesses the artist.

Maio Biodiversity Foundation
A PERSONAL PROJECT

Dor di Mar is the first album where Tcheka is both musical director and orchestra leader, which makes it special and unique. All decisions, from choosing the songs to the orchestration were made by Tcheka and he welcomed the fact that the producer and publisher Lusafrica and Harmony, directed by Djo da Silva, allowed him to realise his dream. "Knowing that I had to make this work for personal satisfaction and achievement, and taking into account the trust that exists in our relationship, they gave me total freedom and I hope that the CD has a good reception and satisfies those who appreciate my music," he says.

He hopes that he has managed to get away a little from the market dictates and the demands of the commercial record industry and feels he has had a unique experience and achieved a strong sense of fulfillment.

Maio Biodiversity Foundation
CAPE VERDE AND THE WORLD

Speaking about the nature and content of the album, Tcheka believes that the music of Cape Verde has a strong sense of identity and in melodic terms, Dor di Mar is based on the traditional rhythms of the island and in lyrical terms, the experiences of the people of Santiago.

"I insist on keeping my identity and my own style, so that whenever someone hears me, they know that they're listening to Cape Verdean music, but also to my music," says Cheka.

"It's like cooking a cachupa. You can put whatever you want in there but if you have the essential ingredients and if done by a Cape Verdean, it will always be a cachupa despite a hint of other flavours" explains the artist to illustrate the idea of the rhythmic and melodic structure of his music.

In all his albums, the guitar is the instrument that stands out, because it is Tcheka's instrument of choice and underpins the construction of his compositions, revealing a very personal style along the way.

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The result is music that integrates and fuses sounds from different origins, with a backdrop of a lyrical and melodic landscape that identifies the Santiago soul, as well as Cape Verde's own unique sound.

"It's hard to get into genres typical of an island, or even a small town, working on them and giving them a identifythat enables them to conquer the world, and be heard and accepted." says the singer and songwriter.

Tcheka has already performed for audiences around the world and enjoys the fact that his albums can be found in the most unlikely places and countries. It shows that whether people listen in Cape Verde, Paris or Madrid, they all have one thing in common, the ability to enjoy listening to Tcheka's music because of its unique and original sound.
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