A Songlines playlist for Apple Music, principally exploring the music of Cesaria Evora
The Cape Verde archipelago is a collection of ten small islands some 500km off the coast of Senegal that mark Africa’s most Western frontier. This very poor and isolated nation won international recognition through the beautiful voice of Cesaria Evora (1941-2011), a singer nicknamed ‘the barefoot diva.’ Evora grew up in extreme poverty and sang in bars for decades until the male singer Bana took her to Portugal in the early 1990s. A Parisian Cape Verdean then produced and promoted Cesaria on the world music circuit. The beauty of her voice and the morna – as Cape Verde’s ballad music is described – found Evora enjoying great fame. Many other Cape Verdean musicians have followed in her wake, both veterans like Zé Luís and newbies Lura and Elida Almeida.