My last World Music blog post about Orchestra Baobab centered on Dakar, Senegal. From there it’s a short flight over to Cape Verde, the home of Cesaria Evora, “The Barefoot Diva”. We have a CD of Cesaria in our collection called Miss Perfumado which I think you will love.
Many of the songs on this album are in the Cape Verdean style of Morna.
As it’s name implies, [Morna is] mournful music–an expression of loss and nostalgia, or sodade, an emotion frequently brought on by the emigration that is a basic fact of life in Cape Verde. (From Anastasia Tsioulcas in the liner notes of Miss Perfumado – 1991 Lusafrica)
My favorite track is called Sodade, which roughly translates to “longing” and can both describe the feeling of loss of love and the longing for home. To me the music and the lyrics remind me more of Portugal than West Africa but it undeniably represents a creole-like mixture of both. There is a beautiful dynamic between Cesaria’s rich warm voice and the higher pitched cavaquinho. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet had the pleasure of visiting Cape Verde, but this music seems to capture the beauty and warmth in my imagination of what these islands must be like. Check it out.
Clip of Sodade from Miss Perfumado