Madonna Looks to African History in New “Batuka” Video

Madame X drums up the past with the help of an all-female orchestra from Cape Verde.

In the sixth video from her 14th studio album, Madame X, Madonna travels to the coast of Lisbon, Portugal, where she is joined by the women of the Orquestra Batukadeiras for a celebration of music and life and a reflection on the slave trade.

Batuque is a style of music created by the women of Cape Verde, the center of the transatlantic slave trade. Inspired by the all-female orchestra she met while recording her latest LP, Madonna chose to recreate their meeting for this video.

“We wanted to honor how I met these women and our journey, with an organic and beautiful cinematic experience,” Madge told Refinery29. “How they invited me in and gave me a leather drum, sat me down and said, ‘Join Us.’ They took turns dancing and embracing me. They invited me into their world and made me feel extremely welcome.”

The drums are very important to the Batukadeiras—as the video explains, the church considered drumming an act of rebellion and took the instruments away from slaves. But the women kept the tradition alive.

The Orquestra Batukadeiras will also join the pop icon on tour, dancing, drumming, and singing in the choir.

“It’s crazy how multitalented they all are and how ready they are to share this experience,” Madonna said. “They’re going to blow people away.”

Check out the video for “Batuka” below:

Lester Fabian Brathwaite is an LA-based writer, editor, bon vivant, and all-around sassbag. He's formerly Senior Editor of Out Magazine and is currently hungry. Insta: @lefabrat