Safeguarding of the Cimboa

  • Project budget: $ 40,000
  • Source:
    • (553CVI4000)
  • Dates of implementation:
    • 01/03/2008 - 01/08/2011

Benefitting country(ies): Cabo Verde


The Cimboa safeguarding project is aimed at revitalizing the manufacture and practice of the Cimboa. The Cimboa is a single-stringed instrument originating from Continental Africa and introduced in Cape Verde by slaves who were taken to the islands.

The Cimboa is exclusively used during the Batuque to accompany songs and traditional dance, practiced on ceremonial occasions (particularly on marriage or child-naming occasions) by the slave community. It is a cultural expression shored up by a community which, in spite of the deprivation of freedom, has succeeded in transferring to its land of exile, a cultural and musical fund of wealth that has enabled it to maintain an umbilical link with the land of its ancestors from which it is now separated by the Ocean.

However, the Cimboa has suffered, for over thirty years now, a considerable setback in the Cape Verdian musical landscape to the point that its eventual disappearance could be expected. The threats are real indeed, since there is only one aged musician left, living in Ribeira Chiqueiro, who really knows how to manufacture and play the Cimboa. There is also one artist living in Tarrafal who has a perfect Cimboa manufacturing capacity.

The project will focus on the three aspects below :

  1. Training with a view to the inter-generational transmission of the production and practice of the Cimboa (through the identification and training of trainers and the organization of training workshops in partnership with the islands’ municipalities that have a historical relation with the Cimboa). This training will be linked to a campaign of recognition of the remaining practitioners, the most important of whom will be elevated to the rank or order of “living human treasure” entrusted with the principal mission of revitalizing the Cimboa.
  2. Creation of a databank on the Cimboa (setting up some collections or compendia on the Cimboa, filing and provision of data on the Cimboa by the IIPC).
  3. Awareness-raising activities on the importance of the Cimboa (in schools, at workshops organized in the municipalities and through participation in cultural events).

01/03/2010 - 30/09/2011 – General inventory of the intangible cultural heritage20/04/2011 - 21/07/2011 – Safeguarding cultural heritage aspects of Njelele