Cesaria Evora: Rogamar (RCA)

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Cearia Evora: Um Pincelada
Cesaria Evora: Rogamar (RCA)

One of my London-based sons is just back from three weeks on the various Cape Verde Islands off the coast of West Africa.

I shall quote him: "loads of swimming, hiking and taking in the traditional island music . . . had a great time meeting villagers as you make your way down the track with many inviting you into their huts to offer some pretty powerful grog made from sugercane. most of the islanders make their living thru fishing but all seem to be musicians in some form or another!!"

Sounds like my kind of place: but since we can't all get there in the few hours it takes from the UK we can at least let the music of the wonderful Cesaria Evora conjure it up for us. A blend of woozy palm wine sounds from Africa but with a colouring of Cuban rhythms, Evora's songs are emotional, sometimes sentimental, and are born of her fascinating life.

She was a star when barely out of her teens, performs barefoot to show her solidarity with the downtrodden and poor, and is now a three-times married, cigar puffin', whisky chuggin' grandmother.

This collection includes lovely soft shuffling tracks and some aching ballads where her dark, almost masculine voice, takes you on a sad journey of yearning for a lost love.

Evora is the biggest star out of Cape Verde and these songs will have you wishing you could hop a flight.

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