Cesaria Evora - Nha Sentimento
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Cesaria Evora
Nha Sentimento
Lusafrica (www.lusafrica.com)

A pensive-looking Cesaria Evora ponders her mirrored reflection on the cover of Nha Sentimento, as though the woman who brought the music of Cape Verde to the world is pondering what her next step might be. If such is the question, the answer is found in the songs. For while the initial two have the characteristic acoustic bounce and moderately refined African beats of more uptempo Cape Verde, the first morna selection, "Vento de Sueste," has the unexpected zest of an Arabic qanun zither and Egyptian string section.

The additions are a lovely fit with the Cape Verdean blues that Evora's been singing for decades, and though the Egyptian orchestral approach is revisited on only two other songs -"Sentimento" and "Mam' Bia E So Mi"- it provides enough of a twist to make Nha Sentimento not just a typically good Cesaria Evora album. And when you go beyond the trio of enhanced mornas, there's plenty more to savor here, much of it less somber than a lot of Evora's preceding releases have been. "Tchom Frio" and "Zinha" are Latin-tinged movers that sound more like the younger Cape Verdean singers (Lura, Maria de Barros, et. al.) Evora has influenced, so I suppose the influence is mutual. Plus, a few songs written or co-written by Teofilo Chantre have a whimsical, swaying feel, which, as his compositions tend to do, tempers the melancholic air that attracted a lot of people to Cape Verdean music in the first place.

The aged-to-perfection voice responsible for much of that attraction is in typically strong form here, familiar and comforting, yes, but still well capable of a few surprises. - Tom Orr

CD available from cdRoots

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