Cesária Évora  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Cesária Évora (27 August 1941 – 17 December 2011) was a Cape Verdean popular singer. Nicknamed the "barefoot diva" for performing without shoes, she was one of the best-known international practitioners of morna.


Life and career

Évora was born on 27 August 1941 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. When she was seven years old her father died, and at age ten she was placed in an orphanage, as her mother could not raise all six children. Aged 16, she was persuaded by a friend to sing in a sailors' tavern.

In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio. It was only in 1985 when at the invitation of Cape Verdean singer Bana she went to perform in Portugal. In Lisbon she was discovered by the musician José da Silva and invited to record in Paris.

Évora's international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus recorded in France. Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide.

Her 1995 album Cesária brought her broader international success and the first Grammy Award nomination. In 1997, she won KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: Best Artist of West Africa, Best Album and Merit of the Jury. In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category.

In 2010, Évora performed a series of concerts, the last of which was in Lisbon on 8 May. Two days later, after a heart attack, she was operated on at a hospital in Paris. On the morning of 11 May she was taken off artificial pulmonary ventilation, and on 16 May she was discharged from the intensive care unit and transported to a clinic for further treatment. In late September 2011, Évora's agent announced she was ending her career due to poor health.

On 17 December 2011, aged 70, Évora died in São Vicente, Cape Verde from cardiorespiratory insufficiency and hypertension.


Studio albums

Compilations & live albums

  • Sodade - Les Plus Belles Mornas de Cesária (Best of compilation, 1994)
  • Club Sodade (Remix album, 1996)
  • Live à l'Olympia (Live album, recorded at the Paris Olympia, 1996)
  • Colors of the World (Allegro Music, 1997)
  • Live Lugano July 1997 (Live album, recorded at Lugano, 1997)
  • Best Of' (Best of compilation, 1998) CAN: Gold
  • Anthology (Best of compilation, 2002)
  • Anthologie - Mornas & Coladeras (Double CD edition of Anthology, 2004)
  • Live d'Amor (Live DVD, recorded in 2004 at Le Grand Rex, Paris, 2004)
  • Un Geste Pour Haiti"

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Cesária Évora" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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