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Evora, Cesaria 1941—

Cesaria Evora 1941

Singer

Sang About Longing and Loss

Found Fame in France

Personal Setbacks Influenced Music

Selected discography

Sources

Commonly called the barefoot diva because she often performs on stage in bare feet, Cesaria Evora of the Cape Verde islands is the worlds reigning interpreter of a mournful genre of blues music known as morna. Morna is based on the Portuguese fado and features bluesy vocals set against a background of acoustic guitars, fiddles, accordion, and cavaquinho, which is a small, four-string guitar. For years, the master of the morna has been Cesaria Evora, a Cape Verdean with a rich alto voice who has been accurately described as a cross between Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday, wrote Geoffrey Himes in the Washington Post. Evoras repertoire over the years has featured the compositions of top Cape Verdean songwriters such as Nando Da Cruz, Amandio Cabral, and Manuel De Novas.

Largely unknown until she was propelled into international acclaim at the age of 45, Evora has attracted legions of fans with sentimental, intimate songs that are delivered with a pitch-perfect, full-toned resonance, according to Himes. My songs basically express feelings about relationships, love relationships, and they sing about the lack of rain in the country, Evora said in Pulse!. Singing in a Creole variation of Portuguese known as Criuolo, Evora has won over legions of fans who do not understand a word of her soulful ballads. Well, now Ive been to different countries and the way people respond to me tells me that they really like the music, even though they dont understand the language, Evora told the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Sang About Longing and Loss

Many of Evoras songs are filled with a sense of longing and homesickness that strikes a chord in her homeland, since over half of all Cape Verdeans have emigrated out of the country. Life in the islands is not easy, because there are very few resources, and you could say that my life and life in the islands are related, she told Pulse!. But in reality, the people are very happy. They enjoy life. Evoras songs offer advice to young people, pay homage to the elderly, lament the loss of a lover, and address other nostalgic themes. Her shoeless performance mode has been said to be her way of symbolizing the plight of poor women and children in her native land, although some accounts indicate that her nickname

At a Glance

Born 1941 in Mindelo, Cape Verde; married and divorced three times; two children; two grandchildren,

Began singing in bars in Cape Verde, 1950s; was discovered in Europe when tapes of her radio performances were sent to Holland and Portugal, 1960s; did not sing publicly, 1970s-1985; recorded two songs for a Cape Verdean womans music anthology, 1985; recorded first album, La Diva aux Pieds Nus, in Paris, France, 1988; achieved major success with Miss Perfumado, 1992; went on world tour, early 1990s; had first major U.S. tour, 1995; performed in Mont real Jazz Festival, 1995.

Addresses: Home Sao Vicente, Cape Verde; Record companyNonesuch Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019,

stems from a visit to Paris when she refused to wear shoes. I got that name because the first record I recorded in France was called Barefoot Diva, claimed Evora herself in the New York Times.

Cesaria Evora was born in the port town of Mindello on the Cape Verde island of Sao Vicente, and lived for many years under Portuguese colonial rule until the country gained its independence in 1975. Life was a struggle for her as a child after her father, a violinist, died at a young age and left her mother to take care of seven children. Most of her siblings emigrated to other countries, but Evora stayed in Cape Verde and has always felt strong ties to her homeland.

Surrounded by music as a child, Evora started singing at an early age. I started singing in the neighborhood where I lived, just with my friends... It was just to amuse ourselves, she told Rhythm Music. She began performing in various bars in Mindello, and took up morna at age 16 after a romantic involvement with a guitarist. After a recording she made on national radio made the rounds, she began to be invited to sing in bars throughout the ten islands that make up the Cape Verde chain. According to Nonesuch Records, With a voice conveying power, vulnerability and an emotional affinity for this style, Evora quickly found a niche for herself in Mindellos musical life and through committed performances gained a distinguished reputation as the Queen of Morna. Evoras frequent accompanist at the time was the well-known clarinetist Luis Morais. In Cape Verde ... I used to sing for tourists and for the ships when they would come there she said in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Thats why I always thought that maybe if I made it, people from different countries would love my music.

By age 20, Evora had achieved a measure of fame at her local radio station. A few tapes of her performances at the station made their way to Holland and Portugal in the 1960s and were recorded into albums. Despite this exposure, Evora never left Cape Verde for many years, and she stopped singing altogether in the 1970s. There was no real progress, she acknowledged in Pulse!. I wasnt making any money out of it, so I just stopped.

Found Fame in France

Evora came out of retirement in 1985, when she went to Portugal and recorded two songs for a womens music anthology at the request of a Cape Verdean womens organization. Her big break came in the 1980s when she met José da Silva, a Frenchman originally from Cape Verde who became entranced with her singing. Da Silva convinced Evora to go to Paris with him to record some of her music for his Lusafrica label. Because I couldnt find anyone to help me out in Cape Verde, I had to start recording in France in 1988, she told the New York Times. That year she recorded La Diva aux Pieds Nus, then followed with Distino di Beìita in 1990, and Mar Azul in 1991. Her 1992 album, Miss Perfumado, made her a major star in France and Portugal, and sold over 200,000 copies in France alone. This recording featured two of her most popular songs, Sodade and Angola. The record shimmers throughout as strings and accordions mingle deliciously around Cesarias sublimely relaxed voice, noted Banning Eyre in Rhythm Music. Evoras reputation across the world soared after this release as she went on tour in Europe, Canada, Africa, and Brazil. At the age of 51, she had suddenly become a major star.

When Evora began her first major U.S. tour in the fall of 1995, she was greeted by sell-out performances across the country. She received thunderous standing ovations at the Montreal Jazz Festival that year. I know this is my opportunity, she noted in Pulse! in discussing the tour. Theyre going to feel my message through my presence and my music. Her 1995 release, Cesaria Evora, on Nonesuch Records was cited by New York Times music critic Neil Strauss as one of the ten best albums of the year. In the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Josh Kun called the album remarkable. The record went double gold in France and reached number seven on the album charts in Portugal according to Billboard Magazine, claimed Nonesuch Records publicity materials.

Simplicity has been a hallmark of the Evora style, as was emphasized by Jon Pareles in his New York Times review of a 1995 performance at the Bottom Line in New York City: She [Evora] stated melodies almost unadorned, lingering with vibrato at the end of a phrase and sometimes languidly sliding down to a note. Pareles added, In her tranquil contralto, there were painful memories and unsatisfied longings, a sense of pensive reassurance and of inconsolable loss. Evora also found a very appreciative audience at a performance at Birchmere in Washington, D.C. that year. Washington Post reviewer Mike Joyce said, Evora projected an unusual combination of vocal power and emotional vulnerability. At times Evora not only sang of heartache, she seemed to personify it, each gesture reflecting the weight of her experience and pain, Joyce also noted.

Personal Setbacks Influenced Music

Much of the emotion of Evoras singing draws on her own experience. Known as a heavy drinker and smoker, she has endured three painful divorces and the blindness of her mother, in addition to her fathers untimely death. She vowed never to live with a man again after her third divorce, according to Neil Strauss in the New York Times. I am married to my mother [with whom she still lives], my children [a 35-year-old son and a 27-year-old daughter], and their two children, Evora said in Rhythm Music.

Most of Evoras albums have one or more morna songs written by her uncle, the well-known morna composer Francisco Xavier da Cruz. For a number of years her main performance venue has been The Piano Bar of Mindello on Sao Vicente where she lives. She has performed in numerous world music festivals, and as the opening act for top stars such as Natalie Merchant. Evora is dedicated to her Cape Verdean roots and has not been lured by the trappings of stardom or affected by the globe trotting and international fame of her later years. I wasnt astonished by Europe and I was never that impressed by the speed and grandeur of modern America, she said in World Music. I only regret my success has taken so long to achieve.

Selected discography

La Diva aux Pieds Nus , Lusafrica, 1988 .

Distino di Belita , Lusafrica, 1990 .

Mar Azul, Lusafrica, 1991.

Miss Perfumado, Lusafrica, 1992.

Cesaria Evora, Nonesuch, 1995.

Sources

Books

Broughton, Simon, Mark Ellingham, David Muddyman, Richard Trillo , World Music: The Rough Guides ,The Rough Guides, 1994, pp. 278-279.

Sweeney, Philip , The Virgin Directory of World Music ,Henry Holt, 1991, p. 30.

Periodicals

Christian Science Monitor , September 29, 1995, p .12.

New York Times, September 21, 1995; September 23, 1995, p. C13; January 4, 1996.

Pulse!, October 1995, p. 42.

Rhythm Music, September 1995.

Village Voice, October 3, 1995, p. 67.

Washington Post, September 22, 1995, p. D11.

Washington Post Weekend, September 15, 1995 , pp. 15-16.

Further information for this profile was obtained from Nonesuch Records publicity materials and the website for the San Francisco Bay Guardian on the Internet .

Ed Decker

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Evora, Cesaria

Cesaria Evora

R & B singer

For the Record

Found Fame in France

Personal Setbacks Influenced Music

Selected discography

Sources

Commonly called the barefoot diva because she often performs on stage in bare feet, Cesaria Evora of the Cape Verde islands is the worlds reigning interpreter of a mournful genre of blues music known as morna. Morna is based on the Portuguese fado and features bluesy vocals set against a background of acoustic guitars, fiddles, accordion, and cavaquinho, which is a small, four-string guitar. For years, the master of the morna has been Cesaria Evora, a Cape Verdean with a rich alto voice who has been accurately described as a cross between Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday, wrote Geoffrey Himes in the Washington Post. Evoras repertoire over the years has featured the compositions of top Cape Verdean songwriters such as Nando Da Cruz, Amandio Cabral, and Manuel De Novas.

Largely unknown until she was propelled into international acclaim at the age of 45, Evora has attracted legions of fans with sentimental, intimate songs that are delivered with a pitch-perfect, full-toned resonance, according to Himes. My songs basically express feelings about relationships, love relationships, and they sing about the lack of rain in the country, Evora said in Pulse!. Singing in a Creole variation of Portuguese known as Criuolo, Evora has won over legions of fans who do not understand a word of her soulful ballads. Well, now Ive been to different countries and the way people respond to metells me that they really like the music, even though they dont understand the language, Evora told the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

Many of Evoras songs are filled with a sense of longing and homesickness that strikes a chord in her homeland, since over half of all Cape Verdeans have emigrated out of the country. Life in the islands is not easy, because there are very few resources, and you could say that my life and life in the islands are related, she told Pulse!. But in reality, the people are very happy. They enjoy life. Evoras songs offer advice to young people, pay homage to the elderly, lament the loss of a lover, and address other nostalgic themes. Her shoeless performance mode has been said to be her way of symbolizing the plight of poor women and children in her native land, although some accounts indicate that her nickname stems from a visit to Paris when she refused to wear shoes. I got that name because the first record I recorded in France was called Barefoot Diva, claimed Evora herself in the New York Times.

Cesaria Evora was born in the porttown of Mindello on the Cape Verde island of Sao Vicente, and lived for many years under Portuguese colonial rule until the country gained its independence in 1975. Life was a struggle for her as a child after her father, a violinist, died at a young age and left her mother to take care of seven children. Most of her siblings emigrated to other countries, but Evora stayed in Cape Verde and has always felt strong ties to her homeland.

Surrounded by music as a child, Evora started singing at an early age. I started singing in theneighborhood where I lived, just with my friends It was just to amuse ourselves, she told Rhythm Music. She began performing in various bars in Mindello, and took up morna at age 16 after a romantic involvement with a guitarist. After a recording she made on national radio made the rounds, she began to be invited to sing in bars throughout the ten islands that make up the Cape Verde chain. According to Nonesuch Records, With a voice conveying power, vulnerability and an emotional affinity for this style, Evora quickly found a niche for herself in Mindellos musical life and through committed performances gained a distinguished reputation as the Queen of Morna. Evoras frequent accompanist at the time was the well-known clarinetist Luis Morais. In Cape Verde I used to sing for tourists and for the ships when they would come there she said in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. Thats why I always thought that maybe if I made it, people from different countries would love my music.

By age 20, Evora had achieved a measure of fame at her local radio station. A few tapes of her performances at the station made their way to Holland and Portugal in the 1960s and were recorded into albums. Despite this exposure, Evora never left Cape Verde for many years, and she stopped singing altogether in the 1970s. There was no real progress, she acknowledged in Pulse!. I

For the Record

Born 1941 in Mindelo, Cape Verde; married and divorced three times; two children.

Began singing in bars in Cape Verde, 1950s; was discovered in Europe when tapes of her radio performances were sent to Holland and Portugal, 1960s; recorded two songs for a Cape Verdean womans music anthology, 1985; recorded first album, La Diva aux Pieds Nus, in Paris, France, 1988; achieved major success with Miss Perfumado, 1992; went on world tour, early 1990s; had first major U.S. tour, 1995; performed in Montreal Jazz Festival, 1995.

Addresses: Home Sao Vicente, Cape Verde; Record companyNonesuch Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10019.

wasnt making any money out of it, so I just stopped.

Found Fame in France

Evora came out of retirement in 1985, when she went to Portugal and recorded two songs for a womens music anthology at the request of a Cape Verdean womens organization. Her big break came in the 1980s when she met José da Silva, a Frenchman originally from Cape Verde who became entranced with her singing. DaSilva convinced Evora to go to Paris with him to record some of her music for his Lusafrica label. Because I couldnt find anyone to help me out in Cape Verde, I had to start recording in France in 1988, she told the New York Times. That year she recorded La Diva aux Pieds Nus, then followed with Distino diBelit. in 1990, and MarAzu. in 1991. Her 1992 album, Miss Perfumado, made her a major star in France and Portugal, and sold over 200,000 copies in France alone. This recording featured two of her most popular songs, Sodade and Angola. The record shimmers throughout as strings and accordions mingle deliciously around Cesarias sublimely relaxed voice, noted Banning Eyre in Rhythm Music. Evoras reputation across the world soared after this release as she went on tour in Europe, Canada, Africa, and Brazil. At the age of 51, she had suddenly become a major star.

When Evora began her first major U.S. tour in the fall of 1995, she was greeted by sell-out performances across the country. She received thunderous standing ovations at the Montreal Jazz Festival that year. I know this is my opportunity, she noted in Pulse. in discussing the tour. Theyre going to feel my message through my presence and my music. Her 1995 release, Cesaria Evora, on Nonesuch Records was cited by New York Timesmusl. critic Neil Strauss as one of the ten best albums of the year. In the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Josh Kun called the album remarkable. The record went double gold in France and reached number seven on the album charts in Portugal according to Billboard Magazine, claimed Nonesuch Records publicity materials.

Simplicity has been a hallmark of the Evora style, as was emphasized by Jon Pareles in his New York Times review of a 1995 performance at the Bottom Line in New York City: She [Evora] stated melodies almost unadorned, lingering with vibrato at the end of a phrase and sometimes languidly sliding down to a note. Pareles added, In her tranquil contralto, there were painful memories and unsatisfied longings, a sense of pensive reassurance and of inconsolable loss. Evora also found a very appreciative audienceat a performance at Birch-mere in Washington, D.C. that year. Washington Post reviewer Mike Joyce said, Evora projected an unusual combination of vocal power and emotional vulnerability. At times Evora not only sang of heartache, she seemed to personify it, each gesture reflecting the weight of her experience and pain, Joyce also noted.

Personal Setbacks Influenced Music

Much of the emotion of Evoras singing draws on her own experience. Known as a heavy drinker and smoker, she has endured three painful divorces and the blindness of her mother, in addition to her fathers untimely death. She vowed never to live with a man again after her third divorce, according to Neil Strauss in the New York Times. I am married to my mother [with whom she still lives], my children [a35-year-old son and a27-year-old daughter], and their two children, Evora said in Rhythm Music.

Most of Evoras albums have one or more morna songs written by her uncle, the well-known morna composer Francisco Xavier da Cruz. For a number of years her main performance venue has been The Piano Bar of Mindello on Sao Vicente where she lives. She has performed in numerous world music festivals, and as the opening act for top stars such as Natalie Merchant. Evora is dedicated to her Cape Verdean roots and has not been lured by the trappings of stardom or affected by the globe trotting and international fame of her later years. I wasnt astonished by Europe and I was never that impressed by the speed and grandeur of modern America, she said in World Music. I only regret my success has taken so long to achieve.

Selected discography

La Diva aux Pieds Nus, Lusafrica, 1988.

Distino di Belita, Lusafrica, 1990.

Mar Azul, Lusafrica, 1991.

Miss Perfumado, Lusafrica, 1992.

Cesaría Evora, Nonesuch, 1995.

Sources

Books

Broughton, Simon, Mark Ellingham, David Muddyman, Richard Trillo, World Music: TheRough Guides, The Rough Guides, 1994, pp. 278-79.

Sweeney, Philip, The Virgin Directory of World Music, Henry Holt, 1991, p. 30.

Periodicals

Christian Science Monitor, September 29, 1995, p. 12.

New York Times, September 21, 1995; September 23, 1995, p. C13; January 1996.

Pulse!, October 1995, p. 42.

Rhythm Music, September 1995.

Village Voice, October 3, 1995, p. 67.

Washington Post, September 22, 1995, p. D11.

Washington Post Weekend, September 15, 1995, pp. 15-16.

Further information for this profile was obtained from Nonesuch Records publicity materials and the website for the San Francisco Bay Guardia. on the Internet.

Ed Decker

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"Evora, Cesaria." Contemporary Musicians. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Evora, Cesaria." Contemporary Musicians. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/evora-cesaria

Evora, Cesaria

CESARIA EVORA

Born: Mindelo, Sao Vincente, Cape Verde, 27 August 1941

Genre: World

Best-selling album since 1990: Cesaria (1995)


Cesaria Evora is the best-known proponent of "morna," a melancholy, cabaret-style poetic music from the impoverished archipelago of Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean west of Senegal between Portugal and Brazil. She did not launch her international career until the age of forty-seven. The niece of the composer B. Leza, she started singing professionally at age sixteen and soon was famous in her islands; by the late 1960s her radio air checks were released as albums in the Netherlands and Portugal. Many Cape Verdeans emigrate, but Evora did not leave her home. However, discouraged by a lack of earnings, she gave up singing from the mid 1970s until 1985, when she ventured to Portugal to record two tunes for an anthology of women vocalists from Cape Verde.

A French agent of Cape Verdean descent invited Evora to visit Paris for the first time in 1987 and arranged recording sessions that resulted in the 1988 release of the album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus ("The Barefoot Diva"). Her debut performance at the New Morning music club followed, and two more albums were released with limited distribution. She won favorable press attention for her appearance at the 1991 Festival d' Angoulème, which led to radio play, further club engagements in Paris, and the launch of her international renown, which was solidified with the release of the album Miss Perfumado (1992).

After sold-out concerts at Paris's prestigious Olympia theatre, Evora embarked on her first international tour in 1993, performing in Spain, Montreal, and Japan. In 1994 the Brazilian vocalist Caetano Veloso joined her onstage in Sao Paolo, and upon her first tour of the United States in 1995, she was hailed by Madonna, David Byrne of Talking Heads, and the saxophonist Branford Marsalis. Her album Cesaria (1995), having already sold more than 100,000 copies in France, was nominated for a Grammy when issued in the United States.

Evora's slightly weathered voice, diffident style, romantic failures (she's thrice-wed and thrice-abandoned), and rocky career ascent heightened her image as a tobacco-smoking, cognac-swilling heiress to Billie Holiday.

Mornas and faster-paced, more upbeat coladerias are sung in Kriolu, a mélange of old Portuguese (Cape Verde was a Portuguese colony) and African tongues; they have affinities to Portuguese fado, Brazilian modinha, Argentine tango, British sea chanties, and African percussion. As Evora intones lyrics by the poets of her homeland, she conveys a world-weariness and hard-earned wisdom reminiscent of Edith Piaf.

A pleasant-looking if no longer beautiful woman with a stocky figure, Evora has a limited range but is capable of compelling, nuanced turns of phrase that communicate to speakers of English as well as Lusaphone listeners. She is typically accompanied by small string ensembles with guitars, the ukelelelike cavaquino, bass, an obbligato instrument such as violin or clarinet, sometimes piano or accordion, and a handclapping rhythm section. Since 1995 she has toured worldwide, often with a band led by the string player Bau.

Evora recorded "Besame Mucho" in Spanish for the soundtrack of the film Great Expectations (1998), and on São Vicente (2001) she collaborated with Cuban musicians, including pianist Chucho Valdes, trumpeter Elipdio Chapotin, and the flute-and-violin band Orquesta Aragon, as well as Veloso and the American blues singer Bonnie Raitt. Whatever she sings seems to proceed at an implacable pace, neither slowing for balladic dramatics nor perking up to dance tempos. In this respect Evora evokes the constancy, if not the heights and depths, of the sea.

SELECTIVE DISCOGRAPHY:

Miss Perfumado (Melodie, 1993); Cesaria (BMG, 1995); Cabo Verde (BMG, 1997); Cafe Atlantico (RCA, 1999); Mar Azul (Melodie, 1999); São Vicente (Windham Hill, 2001). With Salif Keita: Moffou (Universal, 2002); With Compay Segundo: Duets (Gasa/Warner Bros., 2002); Original Soundtrack, Great Expectations [Score] (Atlantic, 1998); With Caetano Veloso: Red Hot + Rio (BMG, 1996).

howard mandel

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"Evora, Cesaria." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Encyclopedia.com. 20 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Evora, Cesaria." Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. . Retrieved August 20, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/evora-cesaria