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A protege of the great Cape Verdean vocalist Cesaria Evora, Fantcha (born:Francelina Durao Almerida) is one of the most successful of Cape Verde 's young torch singers. Her album, Criolina, recorded in Portugal and released in 1998, was an international hit.
Fantcha, whose two brothers played guitar and cavaquinhos, displayed her musical skills at a very young age. Entering the Flores De Mindela Carnival company at the age of ten, she was taken under the wing of music director Ti Goy (Gregorio Gonclaves) and given music lessons. Introduced to Cesaria Evora at a celebration party for the Dover football team, in early 1969, she became a frequent visitor to the Evora home. Eagerly listening to Evora's singing, Fantcha absorbed the veteran singer's mastery of phrasing and emotional expression.
Fantcha's debut performance came when Evora encouraged her to sing at Chico Serra's Piano Bar. The reception from the audience was so encouraging that Fantcha continued to pursue a career in music. Shortly after recording in Paris in 1988, Fantcha accompanied Evora during a tour of the United States. Becoming enchanted by the country, she decided to stay and settled in New York. Although she initially balanced her weekend singing in New York clubs with a white collar job, Fantcha was soon singing full time. Her album roster includes Criolinha (1997) and Viva Mindelo (2001). ~ Craig Harris
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