Words by Alex Robinson
Funana fun meets modern melancholy
While Mayra Andrade, Lura’s compatriot, has been steering away from traditional Cape Verdean sounds, husky-voiced Lura does the opposite on Herança. Sort of. The album title translates as ‘Heritage’. And with a string of delightful upbeat funanas (such as the opener ‘Sabi di Más’ and the jaunty ‘Ness Tempo di Nha Bidjissa’), Lura indeed moves closer to her roots back on Praia, Cape Verde’s capital city. But she doesn’t abandon Lisbon. Cape Verde is revisited and reinvented with precise, jazzy production, a crew of fine session musicians and a repertoire that includes a mixed bag of melancholic covers and original songs.
Standards like Kaka Barbosa’s ‘Maria di Lida’ and ‘Somada’ are given a contemporary twist and smoothed by well-oiled production. Mario Lucio’s ‘Goré’ is rendered almost East African with jangly guitars and a springy, percussive bass, which will have you up and dancing. New tracks like ‘Di Undi Kim Bem’ are an enchanting mix of modern sound and age-old Cape Verdean melancholy. The title-track features an eerie counterpoint of distant percussion and assorted noises by Brazilian master Naná Vasconcelos to offset Lura’s portentous vocal delivery. And fun while the funanas are, it’s these newer numbers that really make the CD something special.