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Cesaria Evora: Sao Vicente

Success shows no apparent signs of spoiling Cesaria Evora, the Cape Verdean singer who has found deserved fame late in life. She still imparts a delicately balanced sense of resignation and affirmation through her treatments of the indigenous morna songs, a relative of the Portuguese fado, and seems somehow detached from the glitz of fame, secure in her role as a wise Earth mother. Now comes her latest, Sao Vicente, after 1999’s Grammy-nominated Cafe Atlantico. It’s a proverbial all-star affair, with guest shots from the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Caetano Veloso from Brazil, and from Cuba, Chucho Valdes, and Pedro Guerra and Orquesta Aragon. Still, despite the contributions from various points of the globe, it’s another valentine to home, specifically her native island of Sao Vincente. It opens with the typical Cape Verde lope, with “Sao Vicente di Longe,” evoking sounds from an elegant lounge. “Dor di Amor” has a samba-fueled pulse, and a smart arrangement leading up to its hypnotic tag, and Raitt makes for a lovely, musky foil on the bittersweet ballad “Crepuscular Solidao.” These are just a few of the highlights on an album that pushes Evora forward even as it confirms her strengths.

Originally Published