R.I.P. | Cesária Évora

It’s a shame she wasn’t better known to an American music audience. I guess that’s what makes me lucky to have been born with a foreign influence (Chilean) in the family. My father’s love for Latino music, Cubano and island songs have become a part of me too. So, today when newspaper obits were being read with the morning coffee, I called my dad and the first thing he says to me is, “David, Cesaria Evora died.” And that means something. Over the weekend, at her home on her native island of Sao Vicente, the “Barefoot Diva” passed away. She is Sao Vicente. She is the morna, an passionately melancholy style of music sung in primarily Portuguese. She sang songs with titles that may seem stilted when read aloud in English, but are translated as “The Sea is the Home of Nostalgia” (“Mar Ê Morada de Sodade“), “Old Mother” (“Mae Velha“), “Quarrel”, or “Miss Fragrant” (“Miss Perfumado“). And in memory of her, here’s one of my favorite songs from her, “Tchintchirote”, written as part of her 1997 album, “Cabo Verde”. You can read obits, more informative than my minor tribute, at the Los Angeles Times, the UK Guardian, and The Washington Post. — David D. Robbins Jr.

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