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Mar Azul

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Album Review

From Cesaria Evora's opening wail on Mar Azul's title track, one knows that this disc, a short set comprised of only eight songs, is going to be something special. This is the album that won Evora the praise of Paris, and was released prior to her international hit, Miss Perfumado. These are classic mornas at their most haunting — all the songs are devastating, slow-burning, and stellar. The subject matter is about love, loss, and the heartbreak of life in Cape Verde. The music is acoustic, with guitars, sweeping pianos, and the occasional horn or violin to augment the effect. The liner notes set up the image of Evora ("Cize," as she is known to those close to her) as she prepares to sing in a smoky Cape Verdean nightclub. The overlying feel of this album is that of a dark and intimate seaside bar, under a starry sky, featuring a beloved singer who woos the audience with her dreamy, mesmerizing voice. Highlights include the haunting "Mar Azul," the elegantly moody "Cabo Verde," the album's two upbeat tracks, "Estanhadinha" and "Cinturao Tem Mele," and its heartbreaking finale, "Separacao." This truly original and understated album burns with the underlying ferocity of an emotional roller coaster, and introduced to the world the mornas of Cape Verde and their most famous interpreter, Cesaria Evora.


Born: 27 August 1941 in Mindelo, Cape Verde

Genre: World

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

A native of the island nation of Cape Verde, Cesária Évora was known as the country's foremost practitioner of the morna, which is strongly associated with the islands and combines West African percussion with Portuguese fados, Brazilian modhinas, and British sea shanties. Évora began singing morna at age 16 after meeting an attractive young guitarist. Her talent soon had her performing all over the islands, and in the late '60s two of her radio tapes were released as albums in the Netherlands and...
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Mar Azul, Cesária Évora
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