Like Billie Holiday, the Cape Verdean queen of morna - a slow, rhythmically balladic blend of African blues and the Portuguese fado - asked heartache to come in and set a spell. In fact, trouble and Cesaria Evora are longtime soulmates. This 1992 album (released in the U.S. in 1998) about nostalgia, longing, hit-and-run lovers, and the sea features titles like "Barbincour" ("The Conman") and "Torura" ("Torture". It went gold in France, transforming the plump grandma diva of her West African island's beachside canteens into a world-music icon. Not the least of Evora's magical appeal is that those smooth, honey-rich vocals suggest a universe of passion and pain, with nary a spasm of self-pity to break the spell.
"Ravishing is the word that springs to the lips: one of those tiresome British understatements, but it'll have to do. Evora has the most glorious voice, the melodies are heartrendingly Portuguese, the guitar-runs have escaped from a fado recording. The classic piano and string group of Miss Perfumada help explain its near-bestselling status, the near-Brazilian rhythms add the zip that tops the whole thing off."
03. Cumpade Ciznone
04. Direito Di Nasca
05. Luz Dum Estrela
07. Miss Perfumado
08. Vida Tem Un So Vida
11. Lua Nha Testemunha
Césaria Évora: Vocals, Main Performer
Teofilo Chantre: Vocals (Background), Translation, Choir, Chorus
Celina Pereira: Vocals (Background), Choir, Chorus
Titina: Vocals (Background), Choir, Chorus
Paulino Vieira: Guitar (Acoustic), Arranger, Percussion, Piano, Vocals (Background), Harmonica, Cavaquinho, Producer, Choir, Chorus
Toy Vieira: Guitar (Acoustic), Choir, Chorus, Piano, Cavaquinho, Vocals