Cesaria Evora (Cape Verde)
Nicknamed the barefoot diva, for performing in bare feet in support of the disadvantaged women and children of her country, Cesaria Evora is the champion of morna - a raw, emotive folk music related to Portuguese fado and Brazilian modinha. Her rich musicality was nurtured far away from the eyes of the world in the Atlantic Ocean on one of the islands of Cape Verde - home to an evocative, passionate music where the sounds of Africa are assimilated with both American and European music - salsa, samba, quadrille, lundum and fado.
It was not until she was 47 that Cesaria recorded her first album, after travelling to France for the recording sessions. La Diva aux pieds nus (The Barefoor Diva) became a hit in 1988 and launched a stellar international performing career that soon had critics raving: "She belongs to the world nobility of bar singers."
Cesaria, who has now sold over five million albums worldwide, has just released her tenth album, Rogamar, which features the rousing morna, coladera and saudade compositions of extraordinary songwriters from Mindelo. They tell Evora's life story in plaintive tones, evident on Um Pincelada, written by Teofilo Chantre and Vitorino Chantre:
"This flower that wilts, this child that cries, this cloud that passes, it's nostalgia, it's sadness... The world changes, but my story continues."