Cesária Évora: "Best Contemporary World Music Album of 2004"
afrol News, 9 February - The album "Voz d'Amor" (the Voice of Love) by Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora last night won the prestigious Grammy award under the category of Best Contemporary World Music. After having been nominated five times, Ms Évora finally won world recognition for the finest of Cape Verde's culture.
The 63-year-old artist has earned the nicknames "the Barefoot Diva" because of her preference for appearing on stage barefoot and "the international Ambassador of Cape Verde" for making the archipelago's characteristic music known in the outside world.
Last night, Ms Évora was granted one of the world's most prestigious music awards after five previous nominations. At the annual Grammy Awards, celebrated in Los Angeles, USA, her album "Voz d'Amor" was named the Best Contemporary World Music Album of 2004.
"Voz d'Amor" is the ninth album released by the Cape Verdean artist since she re-launched her music career in the 1980s, in addition to two compilations. During the latest decade, Ms Évora has appeared on concerts and studios all over the world, however without forgetting her Cape Verdean roots.
Ms Évora is known as the foremost representative of the 'morna' music tradition, which has been developed on the Cape Verdean archipelago. The 'morna' tradition combines percussion from Western Africa with the melancholic 'fado' of Portugal, the 'modhinas' of Brazil and modern aspects of jazz music.
She started her local career at the age of 16, when she went on stage with a guitar and soon became a famous protagonist of the 'morna' music. In the late 1960s, her first commercial hits led to the publication of two albums in Portugal and the Netherlands. But Ms Évora at this stage never left her country and gave up her career during the 1970s.
Then, in 1985, at the age of 45, the Cape Verdean artist suddenly decided to make her comeback. Going back to her 'morna' roots, she launched a row of albums together with Cape Verdean musicians in Portugal and France, starting her new fame as the "Barefoot Diva" and focusing on the plight of Cape Verdean underprivileged women and children.
Her international fame took off in the 1990s, followed by repeated concert tours through Europe, Africa, Brazil and Canada, but also almost always passing by the large Cape Verdean Diaspora in the United States. Ms Évora thus became the first person to make the 'morna' tradition known outside Cape Verde and loved by a growing community of foreigners.
Her winning of the prestigious Grammy Award thus marks a natural recognition of her life-long promotion of the increasingly popular music of Cape Verde. Ms Évora can also be proud to have competed successfully against famous Grammy nominees such as Youssou N'dour and Baobab, both from Senegal.
As the Grammy Award for Ms Évora was know in Cape Verde today, the government was quick to express its congratulations. The Ministry of Culture said Cape Verdeans considered this as "a motive for all of us to be proud, but also a widening of the culture and music of Cape Verde." The long row of nominations before yesterday's award had also aided in promoting Cape Verdean music, it was said.
Also the UN's food agency, WFP, today congratulated Ms Évora, who was last year appointed a WFP Ambassador Against Hunger. Only in December 2003, Ms Évora gave a concert in Rome to support the WFP's School Feeding programme, which raised enough money to give a school meal to 95,000 Cape Verdean pupils for one day.
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