Being a young musician, a tribute from an established poet must be a great honour. Mayra Andrade must have blushed when she received the following words from Cape Verdean poet and compatriot Vasco R. A. Pires: “Like the constant caress of the ocean waves, Mayra’s voice expresses our soul and spirit, and the world is amazed.”
Mayra was born in Cuba, but grew up in Cape Verde, which is where her family is from and where she found her musical roots. Those roots are still strong in her warm voice and her slightly melancholic albeit light-hearted compositions. Morna is to Cape Verde what fado is to Portugal, and bears a strong importance in the native culture. Unlike fado, however, the expression is happier. Most of Mayra’s songs are sung in Portuguese creole, her native language, but the multilingual songstress also has lyrics in French and Portuguese.
Throughout her 27 year long life, she has moved extensively, and lived in as different places as Brazil, Germany and Senegal. She says she wishes her music to reflect the influence she has drawn from her travelling – and considering the strong ties between her home country and Africa, Latin America and Europe, it goes without saying that her influences are flavoured by many corners of the world.
Mayra says that she never chose music, it was music that chose her. That might have rendered her with a heavy responsibility, but it is one that she takes on with great enthusiasm. Knowing that her music is so beautiful because she stretches so far to constantly renew her musical expression, we should be happy that the choice fell on her.
Text: Kristian Krogh-Sørensen