Cesaria Evora - Greatest Hits

RootsWorld: Home Page Link RootsWorld: Home Page Link

Cesaria Evora
Greatest Hits
Lusafrica (www.lusafrica.com)

Like Obi Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Fela Kuti, Cesaria Evora has only grown stronger since her passing. While there's no evidence to suggest that the diminutive Cape Verdean singer was ever actually a Jedi, her legend has continued to grow since her death in 2011.

Celebrated abroad as “The Barefoot Diva," but known at home simply as “Cize," Evora has been the subject of tributes and covers by everyone from Santana to Stromae, and her impressive body of work continues to win her new fans to this day — which seems to be the premise behind this new Greatest Hits release from the Lusafrica label.

Though she didn't begin her international career until her early 40s, Evora still managed to record a respectable thirteen albums between her 1988 deubt La Diva Aux Pieds Nus and 2013's posthumously-released Mâe carinhosa. So there's quite a lot of material to choose from, despite several various (and rather disappointing) major label anthologies on Sony, RCA and Columbia. It seems that Lusafrica - her lifelong label-kept the best stuff for itself.

Lusafrica narrowed things down to 20 songs, culled from Evora's nine album's released between 1992 and 2013 - the peak of her international success. Most of her big hits and beloved classics are here - although there are a few surprising omissions, most notably her high profile collaborations with Salif Keita and Ismail Lo. But the good stuff is all here: canonical mornas and coladieras like 1995's “Petit Pays," 1997's “Sangue De Beirona” and 2001's “Nutridinha” all made the cut. While some old favorites take on new forms, like the 1994 version of her signature hit, “Sodade," recorded at a piano bar and previously only released as a single, or the single-only remix version of her 1993 hit “Angola," or her original, solo version of her 2006 duet with Senegal's Ismael Lo, “Africa Nossa," here titled “Mae Africa." Best of all is the swinging, Brazilian-inspired carnival hit “Carnaval De Sao Vicente” with was only released as a single in Cape Verde in the summer of 1999. It's a monster of a song that's worth the price of admission alone.

The only real quibble with this collection is the lack of any real liner notes to help put things in context. Nothing about Cape Verde's unique morna and coladeira musical styles, or Cize's role in popularizing them internationally. There's no biographical info either, which is a shame. Evora's life story is as epic and tragic and triumphant as her music, from her youth spent in an orphanage in Mindelo, to her musical apprenticeship singing mornas and coldeiras in portside bars, Her first flush of success, and the heartbreaks and hardships which silenced her for a decade, to her triumphant return and international success under the patronage of the great Cape Verdean composer Bana. and her great collaboration with visionary Lusafrica producer José Da Silva, her first Grammy nomination at the age of 54 - this is the stuff that great biographies are made of. And none of it is included here, which is a shame.

Still, the music on this collection more than speaks for itself: Lush, moody and evocative, with superb arrangements full of swinging, minor-key guitars, subtly percolating percussion, accented by various fiddles, flutes, strings and even the occasional harp. Each song here pulses and aches with Cize's emotionally raw, yet soothing delivery, her voice like cool salve on a burn, like honey in whiskey, like a lover's apology. - Tom Pryor

Looking for More Information?


return to rootsworld

© 2015 RootsWorld. No reproduction of any part of this page or its associated files is permitted without express written permission.


cd cover

Share on Facebook


RootsWorld depends on your support.
Contribute in any amount
and get our weekly e-newsletter.