Since this is MY Darwin Project, I can write about whatever I want, and this morning it’s Cape Verde and Cesaria Evora.
I’m reading The Voyage of the Beagle, also known as Darwin’s Journal of Researches into the Natural History of the Countries Visited During the Voyage Round the World of HMS Beagle. You can see why folk mostly call it The Voyage of the Beagle.
The survey ship’s first port of call was the 10-island archipelago off the West Coast of Africa known as Cape Verde. Here Darwin encountered dry air, atmospheric dust, cuttlefish, sea slugs, and the descendants of the African slaves first brought to the islands by the Portuguese in 1462. (I didn’t know that the islands were uninhabited by humans prior to that.) Reading these first anecdotes, I began to get a vibe that I hope continues throughout – Darwin is so positive, curious, and descriptive. And he’s really into geology.
And cuttlefish of the tide pools, which are so Cthulhu that I might have to do a whole other blog post about them one day. By the way, I’m really enjoying The Beagle Project website, which has a great post about the corals and cuttlefish that Darwin describes. My approach to reading Darwin is definitely eclectic and stream-of-consciousness, but I do enjoy scientific footnotes and facts!
I couldn’t read about Darwin in Cape Verde without listening to Cesaria Evora. She’s internationally known for her music, and beloved in her own country (she’s on a bank note!).
She sings a song called “Paraiso Di Atlantico,” on her album Cafe Atlantico, which is gorgeous, brilliant, and one of my favorite albums of all time. I tried to translate the lyrics from the Portuguese, but the best I could do – after copy/pasting the lyrics I found on Google into my Universal Translator app – was a jumble of English and gibberish. I’m guessing it’s because morna, the traditional music that Evora sings, is usually in Creole. And yet – extracting those English words became something similar to the found poetry project I’m working on this month at PoMoSco. If you don’t know about the concept of saudade (sodade in the Cape Verde Creole) it’s worth a peek on the web here.
“Serra Malagueta Cape Verde” by Ingo Wölbern – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons
Cape Verde map By Jacques Nicolas Bellin (1703-1772) (http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb406025638) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
2000 Cape Verde Escudo bank note By Salguide (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
“Sepia officinalis (aquarium)” by © Hans Hillewaert. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons