Saturday, December 17, 2011
Cesaria Evora evoked the longing and melancholy of Cape Verde's morna like no other singer. The island nation of Cape Verde is located miles from the West African coast and centuries of isolation and frequent emigration by the small population helped develop the national music of yearning called morna. Cesaria cradled the nuanced melodies of morna in her supple contralto voice so that no translation was needed. Morna is frequently compared to blues and Cesaria evoked the bearing of a true blues diva. She gained international fame as a hard-drinking, cigarette-smoking, grandmother who always performed barefoot in solidarity with the poor. Her voice is haunting and unforgettable and her legacy will live on through 10 albums, a Grammy and the countless lives that she touched.