As a series of title cards explains at the start of the video, batuque is a style of music and dance that was created by women in Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony off the coast of Africa that played a crucial role in the slave trade. Madonna learned about batuque while living in Portugal, where she recorded some of Madame X, and both the song and video for “Batuka” feature the Orquestra Batukadeiras.
The video for “Batuka” was filmed off the coast of Lisbon and finds Madonna and the women of the Orquestra Batukadeiras singing, dancing and clapping in a studio and against the stunning backdrop of the ocean. In an interview with Refinery 29, where the “Batuka” video premiered, Madonna noted that the clip was meant to honor both the legacy of batuque and recreate the pop star’s first meeting with the Orquestra Batukadeiras.
“It wasn’t easy to replicate the significance of our first meeting and how it all happened,” she said. “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.”
Madonna released Madame X in June, marking her first album since 2015’s Rebel Heart. The singer will embark on a North American theater tour in support of the album this fall, starting with a 17-night residency at New York’s Howard Gilman Opera House, September 12th through October 7th. Madonna will perform similar multi-night stands in Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Boston and Philadelphia before wrapping with a stint in Miami, November 30th through December 19th.