Cesária Évora — São Vicente di Longe
(Windham Hill 01934 11590-2, 2001, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2001-12-01
Cape Verde has a long and varied tradition of popular music, and Cesária Évora is one of the shining stars, garnering a lot of attention in the American press in the last few years. There is nothing particularly innovative about the music on this disc, but between Evora’s beautiful and distinctive voice and the instinctive mood that this music can evoke, I’m quite content to let someone else do the innovating. Acoustic guitars are ever-present, and horns provide punctuation and counterpoint for the lazy melodies. Strings show up on may tracks, lushly filling out the sound, sometimes a little overdone. Percussion is relatively minimal on many of the tracks – this is not really music for dancing in the streets at Carnaval, but music for sunny days lying on a beach, or hours spent in cafés soaking up the atmosphere. Évora’s voice is the firm focus. She has a fairly low range, often sounding almost like a man, a perfect vibrato (subtle and not overbearing), and a sincere, romantic delivery that makes every song sound like a paean to lost love, at least to a non-Portuguese-speaker who doesn’t read the translations in the booklet. I have to admit a slight preference to the more upbeat songs over the slower ones, but it’s all wonderful, and a good place to start if you’re interested about Brazil’s non-progressive music.
Related artist(s): Cesária Évora
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