The beloved Cesária Évora, well known for her sultry sounds from the Cape Verdean islands. “Cise” as she was affectionately known as, born on 27 August 1941 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. At the tender age of seven, her father, Justino da Cruz Évora a part-time musician, passed away and at the age of ten, she was placed in an orphanage because her mother Dona Joana could not raise all six children.
She spent most of her young life in the famous house in Mindelo, where other Cape Verdean singers came to the place including Djô d’Eloy, Bana, Eddy Moreno, Luis Morais and Manuel de Novas (also as Manuel d’Novas). This is where she shaped her talent and received her musical education there.
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 producer José da Silva and invited to record in Paris.
Évora’s international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first commercial album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, recorded in France. Prior to the release of the La Diva Aux Pieds Nus album, Cesaria recorded her first LP titled “Cesaria” in 1987. This Album was later released on CD in 1995 as Audiophile LegendsHer 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. It included one of her most celebrated songs, “Sodade”.
With a soulful career in music here’s 5 things you should know about Cesaria:
- In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio.
- Évora was also referred to as the “Queen of Morna”.
- More popularly she was known as the ‘barefoot diva’ because of her tendency to appear on stage in her bare feet in support of the homeless and poor women and children of her country.
- In 2003, she was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album for Voz D’Amor.
- On 17 December 2011, aged 70, Évora died in São Vicente, Cape Verde, from respiratory failure and hypertension.
For more information visit: http://en.unesco.org/womeninafrica/