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After the passing of Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora in 2011, thousands flocked to pay their respects to the great artist at a series of memorable concerts, including some of the greatest singers in world music joined the musicians who had regularly accompanied Cesaria, lending their voices to this ultimate tribute to the woman known as The Barefoot Diva. Once the musical events were over, Cesaria’s musicians were more determined than ever to keep alive her repertoire, which had enchanted audiences all over the world. So Khaly (piano), Totinho (saxophone), Miroca (percussion), Zé Paris (bass) and a few others formed the Cesaria Evora Orchestra, playing a first concert at the 2014 Gamboa Festival in Praia as a tribute to the iconic singer and her tremendous achievements – especially as the international Ambassador of Cape Verdean music. The artists in the orchestra’s glittering line-up surpassed even their own usual high standards of musicianship and synergy. With them, two stars from the new generation of Cape Verdean music performed the songs that Cesaria made famous: the cool, crystal-voiced Nancy Vieira, whose fusion of new influences with the classic morna genre has won acclaim, and – in sensual, soulful contrast – the wonderful Jenifer Solidade. A virtuoso homage to a unique performer, so greatly loved, admired and missed.
Mayra Andrade is lovely – adorable, generous and radiant. Her firmly-rooted, distinctive, poetic, topical voice was immediately described a few years ago as “the other Cape Verde” – the sound of a Cesaria Evora freed of the twists of fate and patina of tradition. Lovely Difficult is the fourth album by this singer, who makes it plain that her life and aims are not as straightforward as you might think. She is not just a neo-traditional artist. She may be adorable, but she is strong-minded, bold and determined, too; adorable, but a free spirit in both her music and life. Mayra’s singing is a blend of radiant, dancing colors, velvet beats and spicy melodies. Her voice is subtly seasoned with pepper, as if the Europe of pop had always been a tropical archipelago. The songs conjure up an eternal summer that disperses the mists and chills, but never resort to the tinsel of exoticism. Sung in Cape Verdean creole, English and Portuguese, they carry us away in their warm, adventurous unpredictability. Mayra’s pop spans the world’s entire vast sweep from Western romanticism to Southern sensuality, and domestic reggae to African 3/4 time. It is topical, tropical, traveling pop. Her aim was simply to make “music that reflected my life”. And her life has been very colorful.
Claudino de Jesus Borges Pereira was born in Portugal 30 years ago, where lived his parents of Cape Verdean origins. Dino joined the group Jaguar in 2004 and released (under the name of Dino SoulMotion) his first solo album untitled Me and my Beloved in 2008 on which features Tito Paris among others. Along with Virgul (DaWeasel), he founded Nu Soul Family the following year. Together they won the MTV award for Best Portuguese Act with the track This Is For My People. With the encouragement of his father, Dino began to discover his roots on the island Santiago. The artist wanted to try to fuse Africa beats with Fado, he changed his stage name to Dino d’Santiago and returned to Cape Verde with feelings, experience and maturity that he put towards his new album – Eva. Eva is the mother of us all and the symbol of Dino’s travel toward its origins in Santiago island. Eva expresses what is common to us all, binding us to the Eden Garden. Including collaborations with Sara Tavares, Hernani and Jay among others, the mix of Cape Verdean creole with Portuguese makes this album a representative blend of the unique sounds from Portuguese speaking countries.