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A few days ago, I was in Cape Verde for the Atlantic Music Expo and Kriol Jazz Fest. At this music conference, I met up with a bunch of presenters and journalists and we drove all day up the coast of Santiago, Cape Verde. The driver played nothing but various Cesaria Evora albums all the way. It was a perfect soundtrack to the dry but beautiful, volcanic landscape. I posted an article a few days ago about how Cesaria’s presence is everywhere in Cape Verde. She really is the country’s #1 artist. Even though her success made her a star all over the world, Cape Verde always remained her home.

Today’s brief program only highlights a few moments of her career. We start at the beginnings in 1971 at a shortwave radio station, Radio Barlavento in her hometown of Mindelo. Next, we play her first hit album Mar Azul, the 1988 album that put her on the French cultural map and won Paris’ big Cape Verdean audience. We follow that by another coladera, which is the fast Cape Verdean music style.

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Cesaria’s producer José da Silva along with Evelise Gomes and myself (Cape Verde 2014)

We wrap up the show with a couple of tracks from her June 1993 show at the famous Olympia Theater. By this time she had Paris in the palm of her hand. Just a few years before, a Cape Verdean living in Paris named José da Silva helped establish her in France and make the country love her.

Cesaria Evora we miss you. Thank you for giving us so much beauty in your timeless songs.

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Rhythm Planet Playlist: 4/18/14

  1. Cesaria Evora / Mar Azul / Mar Azul / Nonesuch
  2. Cesaria Evora / Cize  / Radio Mindelo / Lusafrica
  3. Cesaria Evora / Bia Lulucha / La Diva Aux Pieds Nus (The Barefoot Diva) / Budamusique
  4. Cesaria Evora / Cinturao Tem Mele / Cesaria Evora A L’Oympia / Melodie
  5. Cesaria Evora / Sodade / Cesaria Evora A L’Olympia / Melodie

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Here is a montage of images with a song she performed at the famous Paris venue those two early summer nights in 1993.

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  • JasminSK1

    I first saw Cesaria perform at Luna Park, the cool venue on Robertson Blvd. that hosted some terrific performers from around the world, especially Africa. Next time I saw her was at the Hollywood Bowl and thanks to you Tom, I got to be be back stage and we all took a group shot with Cesaria in the center. She truly was the barefoot diva.

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