Singer Cesária Évora forced to retire on medical advice

Cape Verdean singer nicknamed the 'barefoot diva' cancels all forthcoming dates and apologises to fans

Cesária Évora, the Cape Verdean singer, has retired from music for health reasons. In an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde she said: "I'm sorry, but now I have to rest. I have no energy. I infinitely regret having had to absent myself because of illness – I would have liked to keep giving pleasure to those who've followed me so long."

Her record label, Lusafrica, said: "Her Paris doctors told her she had to cancel her tour, so Cesária and her producer and manager Jose da Silva decided to end her career, and give up this wandering life that has taken her to the four corners of the world." Evora has suffered health problems for several years, and had open-heart surgery in May last year following a heart attack.

The Cape Verdean musician has been hailed as one of the world's greatest "morna" singers. The ballads of loss and homesickness that led to comparisions to Edith Piaf and Billie Holiday are considered the national music of Cape Verde, much as fado is for Portugal.

Evora, 70, began singing in the bars of Mindelo on São Vicente. Her international career only began in 1988 when she was invited to Paris to make a record, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus – which spread her "barefoot diva" nickname worldwide. By 1995, her Cesária album was released in 20 countries and nominated for a Grammy, and Evora began touring major concert halls across all five continents over the next 15 years. Her UK tour, scheduled for later this year, has been cancelled.

Contributor

Imogen Tilden

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Cesária Évora obituary
Singer behind the popularity of Cape Verde's morna ballads

Garth Cartwright

17, Dec, 2011 @6:25 PM

Article image
Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora recovering from heart surgery
The 68-year-old diva is recovering in a Paris hospital after undergoing emergency open-heart surgery on the weekend

Sean Michaels

12, May, 2010 @10:42 AM

Article image
Pedro Costa: Portuguese director who fashioned Gil Scott-Heron's film prayer
With the dreamlike film Horse Money, Costa has returned to his most powerful and enduring subject: the Cape Verdean diaspora who inhabit Lisbon’s shadows. He explains how the project began as a collaboration with the US rapper and poet

Jonathan Romney

17, Sep, 2015 @11:35 AM

Sara Tavares talks to Sue Steward

Sara Tavares has become a cultural figurehead for her native Cape Verde. She tells Sue Steward how her songs are all about 'catching the train of responsibility'

Sue Steward

30, Nov, 2007 @12:09 AM

Article image
Cesária Evora, the voice of longing, dies aged 70
The singer who brought the Portuguese-creole songs of her native Cape Verde to the world apologised to her fans for retiring earlier this year

Cass Jones

18, Dec, 2011 @12:06 AM

Scene and heard: Funaná

John McDonnell: Defined by its high-tempo accordion melodies and frenetic tinny percussion, this is the sound of a raucous, drunken village party

John McDonnell

20, Jul, 2009 @1:36 PM

Article image
Big picture: Sandgrains, by Francesca Tosarelli

Destruction of the beaches and overfishing has brought drastic environmental consequences to Cape Verde, says Hannah Booth

Hannah Booth

19, May, 2012 @9:59 PM

Cesaria Evora and Ballaké Sissoko | World music review
Barbican, London
The queen of Cape Verdian blues was let down at her London comeback gig by a relentlessly cheerful band, writes Robin Denselow

Robin Denselow

05, May, 2010 @10:45 PM

Cesaria Evora, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

James Griffiths

28, May, 2004 @2:00 AM

Article image
The former air traffic controller behind Cape Verde's football fairytale
Lúcio Antunes has coached the tiny country's team past Goliaths to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations

David Smith in Port Elizabeth

01, Feb, 2013 @2:12 PM