Renown Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora died this past weekend at age 70. Earning monikers such as “The Barefoot Diva” and “The Queen of Morna,” Évora began performing at age 16. Releasing her first album in 1988, by 2003 she had earned a Grammy for her album Voz D’Amor.
An international star, Évora became famous for her distinctive contralto and soulful performances of songs of lament and longing. Indeed, “Évora was considered one of the world’s greatest exponents of Morna, a form of blues considered the national music of the Cape Verde islands, a former Portuguese colony which gained independence in 1975.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16232543). For more on her life and legacy, see the following links for obituaries published in the New York Times, the BBC, and the Washington Post, among others. You may also hear a brief clip of Évora in performance here.
For those of you who are UNC affiliates, if you’re interested in a more extensive discussion of her career from a sociological perspective we encourage you to make use of the new Articles+ search tool to locate the following article: “Cesária Évora: ‘The Barefoot Diva’ and Other Stories.” (by Carla Martin, in Transition, No. 103, Cabo Verde (2010), pp. 82-97). Here at the SCL we also have Music is the weapon of the future : fifty years of African popular music (2002), which includes the chapter “From Kode di Dona to Cesaria Evora: Sodade in A Major: The Music of Cape Verde” (p. 191).