Cesária Évora

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Cesária Évora
Cesaria Evora 2008.jpg
Cesária Évora in São Paulo, 2008
Background information
Also known asBarefoot Diva
Queen of Morna
Born(1941-08-27)27 August 1941
Mindelo, Portuguese Cape Verde
Died17 December 2011(2011-12-17) (aged 70)
São Vicente, Cape Verde
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
  • Vocals
Years active
  • 1957–2011
Website cesaria-evora.com

Cesária Évora GCIH (Portuguese pronunciation:  [sɨˈzaɾiɐ ˈɛvuɾɐ] ; 27 August 1941 17 December 2011), more commonly known as Cize, [1] was a Cape Verdean singer-songwriter. [2] She received a Grammy Award in 2004 for her album Voz d'Amor . Nicknamed the "Barefoot Diva" for performing without shoes, [3] she was known as the "Queen of Morna". [4]


Évora began singing as a young woman in bars in her hometown of Mindelo, and came to international prominence in the 1990s.


Early life

House of Evora; today, a museum Cesaria Evora Home.jpg
House of Évora; today, a museum

Cesária Évora was born on 27 August 1941 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. When she was seven years old her father, Justino da Cruz Évora, who was a part-time musician, died, and at the age of ten she was placed in an orphanage, as her mother Dona Joana could not raise all six children. At the age of 16, she was persuaded by a friend to sing in a sailors' tavern. [4]

She grew up at the house in Mindelo which other singers used from the 1940s to the 1970s, at 35 Rua de Moeda. [5] Other Cape Verdean singers came to the house, including Djô d'Eloy, Bana, Eddy Moreno, Luis Morais and Manuel de Novas (also known as Manuel d'Novas), and it was there she received her musical education.

Musical career

In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo and on the local radio. In 1985, at the invitation of Cape Verdean singer Bana, she went to perform in Portugal. In Lisbon she was discovered by the producer José da Silva and invited to record in Paris. [6]

She recorded the track "Ausência", composed by Yugoslav musician Goran Bregovic, which was released as the second track of the soundtrack of the film Underground (1995) by Emir Kusturica.

Évora's international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first commercial album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus , recorded in France. Before that album had been released, she recorded her first LP titled "Cesária" in 1987. This album was later released on CD in 1995 as Audiophile Legends. [4] Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. [7] It included one of her most celebrated songs, "Sodade".

In 1994, Bau joined her touring band and two years later, he became her musical director up to September 1999.

Her 1995 album Cesária brought her international success and the first Grammy Award nomination. [4] In 1997, she won the KORA All African Music Awards in three categories, including "Best Artist of West Africa", "Best Album" and "Merit of the Jury". [8] In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World Music category. [4]

In 2006, Évora met with Alberto Zeppieri, an Italian songwriter, journalist and record producer [9] and agreed to duet with Gianni Morandi, Gigi D'Alessio and Ron. [10] The project, now in its fifth volume, gives visibility and raises funds for the UN World Food Programme, for which Évora was the ambassador from 2003. [11]

Later in 2006, she released her next album Rogamar . It was a success and charted in six European countries including France, Poland and the Netherlands. On her tour in Australia in 2008, she suffered a stroke. In 2009, she released her final album Nha Sentimento which was recorded in Mindelo and Paris by José da Silva. The album reached number 6 in Poland and number 21 in France.

In 2009, she was made a knightess of the French Legion of Honour by the French Minister of Culture and Communications, Christine Albanel, the first Cape Verdean to become one.

She received her last award at the 2010 Kora All African Music Awards, the "Merit of the Jury" award for the second time.

Acting career

Évora had briefly engaged into acting by performing in two Cape Verdan films, Black Dju, a comedy directed by Pol Cruchten; [12] and the critically acclaimed drama Napomuceno's Will , [13] both released in 1997. [14]

Personal life

Évora dated Eduardo de Jon Xalino when she lived at Rua de Moeda. She was also a relative of the great Bana, who emigrated from Montenegro in the 1880s with his maternal family (siblings Milo, Drago, Milica, who later married Santiago the great craftsman of Salamanca, Petrinja and Brano) after his mother, the great Djetinja, was abused by her late husband Petar Petrovic Njegos.

Her cousin was another singer Hermínia da Cruz Fortes. She was an aunt of António da Rocha Évora and Xavier da Cruz.

Awards and honors


In 2010, Évora performed a series of concerts, the last of which was in Lisbon on 8 May. Two days later, after a heart attack, she underwent surgery at a local hospital in Paris. On the morning of 11 May 2010 she was taken off artificial pulmonary ventilation, and on 16 May she was discharged from the intensive-care unit and transported to a clinic for further treatment. In late September 2011, Évora's agent announced that she was ending her career due to poor health. [16]

On 17 December 2011, aged 70, Évora died in São Vicente, Cape Verde, from respiratory failure and hypertension. [17] A Spanish newspaper reported that 36 hours before her death she was still receiving people – and smoking – in her home in Mindelo, popular for always having its doors open. [17]


Capeverdean 2000-escudo note
Cesária Évora on the front
Violin that Évora used on the back

Named after

Sculpture of Evora at the eponymous airport in Mindelo, Cabo Verde Cesaria Evora sculpture.jpg
Sculpture of Évora at the eponymous airport in Mindelo, Cabo Verde


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mindelo</span> Settlement in São Vicente, Cape Verde

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Music of Cape Verde</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lura (singer)</span> Musical artist

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rádio Barlavento</span> Former radio station in Cape Verde

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<i>Voz dAmor</i> 2003 studio album by Cesária Évora

Voz d'Amor is the ninth album by Cesária Évora. The album reached number 3 in Poland, the first Cape Verdean and West African artist to reach the Polish Top 10 charts and number 2 in the Billboard 200 World Albums Chart. The album sold about 400,000 copies. In Switzerland, the album reached number 57 below the Top 50 charts in October and remained in the Swiss charts for six weeks.

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"Sodade" is a Cape Verdean song written in the 1950s by Armando Zeferino Soares, and best popularized by Cesária Évora on her 1992 album Miss Perfumado. The name is the Cape Verdean Creole variant of the Portuguese term saudade.

Francisco Xavier da Cruz, also known as B. Leza or Beleza was a Cape Verdean writer, composer and singer of morna music..

Epifânia de Freitas Silva Ramos Évora, better known as Dona Tututa or Tututa Évora was a Cape Verdean composer and a pianist.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Djô d'Eloy</span> Musical artist

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The following lists events that happened during 2003 in Cape Verde.

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  1. Akyeampong, Emmanuel Kwaku; Gates, Henry Louis (2012). Dictionary of African biography. Oxford University Press. pp. 317, 318. ISBN   9780195382075. OCLC   706025122.
  2. Gregory, Andy (2002). International who's who in popular music (4th ed.). London: Europa Publications Limited. p. 161. ISBN   1857431618. OCLC   49206740.
  3. Werb, Jessica (24 March 2006). "The Barefoot Diva on her best behaviour". The Globe and Mail . Retrieved 21 March 2015.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Hatton, Barry (17 December 2011). "Grammy-winning singer Cesaria Evora dies at age 70". The Washington Times . Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  5. Knight, Lewis (2019) Who is Cesária Évora? Mirror
  6. Cartwright, Garth (17 December 2011). "Cesária Évora obituary". The Guardian .
  7. "BBC News – Singer Cesaria Evora dies at the age of 70". BBC News. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  8. "All Africa music awards". www.koraawards.org. Archived from the original on 28 April 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  9. Lombardini, Emanuele (9 April 2014). "A colloquio con Tinkara Kovac: "Ora l'ESC, poi un album in italiano"" (in Italian). Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  10. Cesária Évora & Ron – La voce dell' amore (voz d'amor) on YouTube
  11. "Capo Verde terra d'amore". www.capoverde-italia.it. Retrieved 13 September 2015.
  12. "Black Dju, 1997". imdb.com.
  13. "Napomuceno's Will, 1997". imdb.com.
  14. "Cesária Évora(1941–2011)". imdb.com.
  15. "Cidadãos Estrangeiros Agraciados com Ordens Portuguesas". Página Oficial das Ordens Honoríficas Portuguesas. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  16. "Cesária Évora termina a carreira aos 70" (in Portuguese). Publico.pt. Archived from the original on 24 September 2011. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  17. 1 2 Serena, Marc (18 December 2011). "Las últimas palabras de Césaria" [Cesária's last words]. Público (in Spanish). Retrieved 17 December 2011.
  18. "Timbres émis avec CV007.03". www.wnsstamps.ch (in French). Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  19. "Stromae : découvrez son nouveau clip Avé Cesaria [Vidéo]". Télé Star (in French). 25 September 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  20. Gilbert, Andrew (7 June 2007). "Cesaria Evora and Tcheka / Singer who paved the way for other Cape Verdean artists will share the stage with guitarist who's crafted a distinctive sound". San Francisco Chronicle . Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  21. Marsh, Michael (27 August 2019). "Who is Cesária Évora? Google Doodle pays tribute to singer". nechronicle.
  22. "Five things to know about Cesária Évora". The Independent. 27 August 2019.
  23. "Cesária Évora's 78th Birthday". 27 August 2019. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  24. "Madonna and Maluma Perform Sultry 'Medellín' Collab with Holograms at 2019 BBMAs: Watch". Billboard . 2 May 2019.
  25. "More About Cesaria Evora".
  26. "Mãe Carinhosa, Cesária Évora's Posthumous Release by Oscar Montagut - August 19, 2014". 19 August 2014.
  27. "Cesária Évora – Mãe Carinhosa". April 2013.

Further reading