Ms. Cesaria Evora was born on Cape Verde in 1941 and was known as the “Barefoot Diva” because she performed without shoes. She was orphaned at the age of seven and fame did not find her until the age of 47 and won a Grammy in 2003 for her album “Voz D’Amor”. Cise (as she was known to her friends) is considered the best Morna singer – where Morna is a genre of music similar to the blues. In fact The Washington Post compared her to American jazz singer Billie Holiday.
Some have called her the Edith Piaf of Cape Verde; I for one can only call her “maravillosa!” French newspaper Le Monde said in 1991 that Ms. Evora had “a voice to melt the soul”. She sings of the loneliness left behind by lost loves in “Historia de un Amor” and of being home sick in “Sodade.” She sings in Spanish, Portuguese, and Cape Verdean Creole as Cape Verde is a former colony of Portugal and is located off the coast of West Africa.
Ms. Evora passed away on the 17th of December, 2011 from respiratory failure following a heart attack. My life is richer for having discovered this mellifluous singer. This woman produced a sound that made you believe that all was ok in the world, even if for a moment.
This compilation mixed by JaBig on YouTube gives you a great sampling of this artist and a wonderful introduction to her music. Consider playing this at your next gathering and I am sure your friends will enjoy it.
by Joanne Bermudez