CD review | Cesaria Evora: Nha Sentimento

(Lusafrica/Harmonia Mundi)

This new album raises one obvious question: can she still do it? The ­legendary Cape Verdean singer famed for her pained morna ballads, with their stories of romantic disappointment and melancholy, is now 68, and this is her first recording since an illness last year. Her previous release, Radio Midelo, consisted of her earliest recordings from four and a half decades ago, and she is clearly keen to follow that historic set with a reminder that her career is not over. Surprisingly, she doesn't concentrate on the style that made her famous: much of the album consists not of morna but Cape Verdean coladera dance songs, which use a faster treatment of the same rhythm but can still sound emotional. Zinha is a light but pensive song about adolescence, and the gently exquisite, violin-backed Noiva de Ceu mixes a sturdy melody with a hint of sadness. The three mornas, meanwhile, match her thoughtful vocals against delicate Egyptian string arrangements. The result is a breezy and easygoing set that lacks the intensity of her finest work, but shows Evora is still in fine voice.

Contributor

Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

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