When Cesaria Evora, the great singer from Cape Verde, died in 2011, listeners all over the world lost a loved one. She was by far the most well known practitioner of morna, the national music of Cape Verde, but she went beyond that genre, as a storyteller and singer of ballads that moved people all over the world. She played twice at Oslo World, in 2004 and in 2007 at Rockefeller. The venue was packed both times and Evora smoked cigarettes and chatted with the audience between songs.
After 2011, a series of concerts were held where the musicians who had backed her for years invited different singers to perform her songbook. Since 2014, the band has played regularly and in a year where Oslo World has picked Utopia as a theme for the festival, it seemed natural to invite them and four top Cape Verdean artists to pay homage to a groundbreaking artist, who put her home country on the map and moved freely in a male dominated world. When Oslo World presents Tribute to Cesaria, we are proud to welcome some of the stellar solo performers who have followed in Evoria’s footprints.
Lucibela, born in 1986 on the island São Nicolau, had been a singer her entire life when she broke through at Atlantic Music Expo in 2017, leading to the recording of her debut album Laço umbilical. It was produced together with Toy Vieira, who was Evoras band leader. Elida Almeida comes from the island of Santiago, where she learned how to sing in church. She broke through with the song “Nta Konsigui” in 2015 and on her last album, Kebrada, she explores different genres from Cape Verde, like batuque, funaná, coladera and tabanka. She is a spectacular live artist who has played all over the world. Ever since the hit song “Nha Vida”, the singer Lura has convinced both critics and audiences, released a string of beautiful albums and collaborated with huge artists like Bonga and Tito Paris. Nancy Vieira finds new ways of combining her background from Cape Verde with ideas from Brazilian and Carribean music, a blend that has led to a big international following.
Great voices are irreplaceable – but one of the best ways of celebrating them must be through listening to those who follow in their path. The tribute to Cesaria Evora is a look back at the music of one of the greatest artists ever to visit Oslo World, but it is also a glimpse at the future of Cape Verdean music.