18 June 2006

Little Prayers from Sara Tavares (CD Review)

Sara Tavares: Balancé
Buy CD : buy/preview mp3s
Times Square Records

Winning two major musical prizes at age 16 might spoil some artists, but Sara Tavares took it all in stride. Her earlier music (including an album produced by Lokua Kanza) reportedly leaned toward gospel, soul, and funk. On the self-produced Balancé, Lisbon-based Tavares looks toward her family's roots in Cape Verde. Playing many of the instruments herself, she builds subtle, joyful songs that show how much of the island spirit still lives within her, assimilated through annual trips to Cape Verde.

Some songs are bittersweet, reflecting both her joy at life and a difficult childhood after being abandoned by her parents. On " Planeta Sukri (Sugar Planet)" Tavares blends reggae with coladeira (a Cape Verdean style made popular by Cesaria Evora). “The poem of this song can be seen as a love poem,” she Tavares. “I am saying ‘Take me to a sugar planet, take me to place where there is no sadness, no cries. And this place is inside of you and me and everyone.’ I mean it more in a spiritual way than a romantic way. The ballads are very much like little prayers.” Balancé includes a sparse duet with fado star Ana Moura ("De Nua"), and another with Boy Ge Mendes ("Planeta Sukri"). This beautiful, subtle album is easily among the best "world music" releases of 2006.

Tavares was also featured recently on The World's Global Hit, which you can download as an mp3.


As for that little soccer tourney in Germany...I'm pretty pleased with the tie the US scraped out in that demon-officiated match yesterday. And kudos to Ghana, not only for the win but for helping out the USA chances of advancing. It's amazing how differently teams can play from one match to another. And I'm impressed by the increasing parity among nations. Given a few helpful bounces, Australia conceivably could beaten Brazil. Angola fought the Mexicans to a draw. Japan and Korea are getting stronger all the time. It all makes for great matches. Tomorrow morning, watch for a Togo triumph over Switzerland, an inspired Saudi victory over lackluster Ukraine, and a second victory by powerful Spain in a tough tussle with Tunesia. Well, that's what I'm thinking, anyway. Your results may vary.
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