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Cesária Évora

Singer from Cape Verde

Armando Bellmas
Armando Bellmas
Cesária Évora

Today on Ecléctico you're listening to Cesária Évora, perhaps the most well-known and revered singer from Cape Verde. This is the lead off track on her international breakthrough album, Miss Perfumado. You'll go deeper with an excerpt from an article by Chaka V. Grier on NPR Music.

"Sodade" by Cesária Évora
1992 | Singer from Cape Verde

Go deeper.
If there were ever a voice that embodied that of a siren, a voice that could seduce, sadden and soothe with its elegance, it was Cesária Évora's. It was the voice that lifted Cape Verde's little-known blues, morna, beyond the island and into the international world of music.

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She sang in Kriolu, which draws from West African dialects and Portuguese — the language of Cape Verde's former colonizer. Évora had a gift for elevating morna ballads, a style of song whose lyrics address poverty, longing, and most deeply, partings: of both the physical and emotional kind. Her melodic voice conjured the beauty and struggle, melancholy and yearning of life in Cape Verde. Performing without shoes, Évora was often paid with drinks and trivial tips as she performed for the sailors who arrived on the Portuguese cruise ships that docked at Mindelo. Yet her languid vocals and blasé glamour were unforgettable. She would eventually be known as the "barefoot diva" and the queen of morna, both names capturing the humble majesty she evoked.

Cape Verde