Cesaria Evora: Nha Sentimento (Lusafrica)
I doubt Cesaria Evora is capable of recording an album that doesn't drip with a sense of delicious melancholy. I don't understand a bit of the Cape Verde Portuguese in which she sings, but as Evora says, "Music is just the universal language. Even if you don't understand the language ... you listen because you like the rhythm of the song." Not only are the songs on this album are up to the Barefoot Diva's own high standards, they break new ground with the inclusion of Egyptian strings and melodies on the title track and several others. It's not a jolting addition, either musically or historically, since Cape Verde lies in the trade routes from West Africa to Arabic North Africa and beyond to Europe.
In a 2006 interview Evora said "What delights me today is the happiness of having got through all the years of suffering to better enjoy the life I live now. At home we say 'it's better to drink the venom first and the honey later'. Now I'm drinking the honey." It must be particularly sweet to have recovered from the minor stroke she suffered while on tour in 2008, and this gorgeous album is a succulent dose of morabeza, the Creole word for love, friendship, and good feelings, and a welcome splash of island warmth in the midst of a cold northern winter.
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