Monday, July 05, 2010

"Cabo Verde" by Cesaria Evora

In honour of Cape Verde's independence day*, the Pop Culture Institute is proud to feature the work of one of that tiny country's greatest exports: Cesária Évora. The song she sings here, Cabo Verde, is from her 1991 album Mar Azul, and its video shows images of both Évora and her stark homeland.

I had the pleasure of seeing her perform this, and many others besides, live at the Vancouver Jazz Festival in July 2000. It was an evening both electric and laid-back; normally, the elaborate interior of the Orpheum sends me so spinny you could run a generator off me, but that night I kept my cool and was rewarded in kind with an evening of sweet dusky vocals that are themselves the essence of cool. So carried away was I that when, in the middle of the show, the Barefoot Diva took her trademark smoke break onstage I found myself, along with the rest of the capacity crowd, applauding her despite how I feel about cigarettes**.

Some five years later our paths crossed again when she was a guest in the hotel where I was working; I'm ashamed to say the couple of times I found myself in her presence I just stood there grinning like a dumb-ass. I don't know if she's been back since, but if she hasn't I'm sure it's my fault. I imagine she still has nightmares about the enormous grinning bellhop; I know I would.

**I don't like them.
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