Portfolio of Kimberly Johans

A collection of articles created during my stint as a journalist at The Macau Daily Times

The ‘barefoot diva’ returns to Macau

Posted by Kimberly on February 22, 2008

By Kimberly Johans
Published in The Macau Daily Times
February 22, 2008 (572 words)

Cape Verde export Cesaria Evora is as intriguing in person as she appears to be to the countless dedicated fans of her songs.
Every question posed gains a succinct response which only tells you what you asked and nothing more. It’s that mystery that adds to the character of a woman that admits there are still some secrets she refuses to divulge.
In Macau for the second time to perform at the Cultural Centre tomorrow night, Cesaria has been nick-named ‘the barefoot diva’ for her propensity to perform on stage sans shoes.
Yet, despite what media have reported about her reasons for doing so, they are as simple as the fact that it is the state in which she feels the most comfortable, nothing more.
Her diminutive stature belies the strength that lies within, coming out in a voice that has been likened to such singing greats as Billie Holiday and Bessy Smith.
Her music could almost have its own category, a Creole style that mixes Portuguese fado with Brazilian modinha.
With a recent album, ‘Rogamar’ added to a list that now numbers ten, it’s essential a prayer to the sea. In explaining this, Cesaria says that with Cape Verde being the poor island it is, and thus surrounded by water, it is the connection between those that leave and those that remain.
“Everybody is poor and lives off the sea so the sea is very important, it’s everything to them,” she says.
The title of the album, she adds, “is a prayer to God for good weather, fishing and praying for families to return safely.”
Asked about the politics in some of her songs, specifically about Africa, the 67-year-old says that while she sang about the situation over there some time ago, “unfortunately Africa is still in that state.
“People have been listening to my music as well as other artists and it’s still the same. The music hasn’t changed the situation in Africa,” she adds.
Considering the singer only really gained world-wide attention at the ripe age of 47 years, Cesaria has certainly played catch-up, with several world-wide tours and two Grammy nominations.
No doubt her latest album will ensure her unique style of music remains on the minds of her audience long after the final notes have left her lips.

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