Saturday, December 17, 2011

RIP Cesaria Evora

Cesaria Evora died today at age 70. Below is the story of when we met her on the island of Sao Vicente, off West Africa's coast (from an old blog post):

Cape Verde's most famous resident is the singer Cesaria Evora, who has made her living crooning about her country and its beauty. Her deep, smooth voice and romantic songs - called mornas - vaulted her to international stardom, and she tours throughout the world.

So imagine our surprise when we walk down the street in Mindelo (Sao Vicente's capital) and see Cesaria Evora sitting on her front porch. Imagine our greater surprise when she invites us in and offers us a beer (served by a pierced houseboy in an apron).

We couldn't say much to each other directly, since we don't speak Criolo or French and Cesaria doesn't speak English. Everything had to be translated by Peter, Cesaria's 87-year-old uncle, a dapper gentleman in white linen trousers, as sharp-dressed as they come, except for his unzipped fly.

Cesaria asked why we had come to Cape Verde, and where else we had visited in the country. As Peter relayed our answers, she listened graciously puffing on Marlboro Reds held between fingers heavy with gold rings.

At the end of our visit, Cesaria let us take photos (after telling Peter to zip up first), and then she invited us back.

She was a class act. You can see the Barefoot Diva (she only performed shoeless) singing here.

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