July 5, 1975: when Cape Verdeans raised their arms up and shouted for freedom and independence

Throwback to ‘Labanta Braço’, one of the most symbolic songs of Cape Verde’s independence.

On July, 5th 1975, this tiny African archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, called Cabo Verde, gained freedom from its Portuguese colonist. In the very next days, young Alcides Spencer Brito was having fun with his brother Nhelas Spencer, trying to invent slogans to compete the ones they would hear all over the streets. They eventually found inspiration to transpose that collective euphoria in words, with the line “Cry out ‘Long live Cabral!’ “.

“Labanta Braço” is probably the perfect ode to Cabo Verde’s independence, written in the creole language of the island of Sal, where Brito lived then. The song pays tribute to then-late Amilcar Cabral (1924-1973), founder of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) and leader of the fight for liberation of the two Portuguese colonies, who was assassinated in 1973 before the birth of the independent nation.

After having been performed by Brito himself with his band Voz Djassi and recorded by a Cabo Verdean band exiled in the Netherlands – with no current discographic track – the song was eventually released in 1976 and immediately made popular by cult band Os Tubarões on the album ‘Pépé Lopi’, in the voice of great singer Ildo Lobo. It then spread massively to the Cabo-Verdean diaspora in Africa, Portugal, Netherlands, France, USA, etc…

Paroles en crioulo
Labanta braço grita bô liberdade (x4)
Grita povo independenti
Grita povo libertadu
Cinco di Julho sinónimu di liberdadi
Cinco di Julho kaminhu abertu pa filicidadi
Grita “Viva Cabral”
Honra kombatenti di nós terra
English lyrics [loose translation by the author]
Raise your arms up to shout for freedom (x4)
Cry out, independent people
Cry out, liberated people
The 5th of July, synonym for liberation
The 5th of July, open path to happiness
Cry out “Long live Cabral”
Honor the fighters of our land


1st picture : Os Tubarões band