Madame X is a dancer.
Madonna put forth a new visual for “Batuka” off her No. 1 album, Madame X. In the clip, the Queen of pop joins a group of black women of the island of Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony where it is believed slave trade originated. The song features chants form the all-women Orquestra Batukadeiras.
“I found them to be so strong, authentic, soulful, loving, generous, and kind,” Madonna told Refinery29. “I learned a great deal from these women. Many of them came from very economically challenged backgrounds, without access to formal education. The ways we measure achievement and success in our conventional society fails to capture their singular brilliance and strength. I found them to be so strong, authentic, soulful, loving, generous, and kind. You can’t learn these things in school. They taught me those things. It’s a tough world out there, and it’s inspiring to work with people who have been through the struggle but still manage to manifest and share joy with us all. That was a big part of the lesson.”
Madonna also touched on the video’s concept. “We wanted to honor how I met these women and our journey, with an organic and beautiful cinematic experience. We found a house that looked like a typical house that one would live in on the islands of Cape Verde next to the sea. Instead of me going to a small nightclub environment to meet them and hear them play, to then be invited into their circle, we choose a more natural and beautiful environment as the meeting place, ending up in the recording studio. It wasn’t easy to replicate the significance of our first meeting and how it all happened. 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. When I asked them to record with me it was the exact same experience. They were just as joyful, just as down to earth, just as open, just as loving. I tried to capture the simplicity of that exchange. I hope it captures the range of emotions that I felt coming from them, and their music. I wanted to show the strength and the history, and I felt like all of their faces were just so expressive. I wanted to capture that in all of their close-ups.”