Cape Verde orphaned by Sara Tavares, Jeune Afrique


Cape Verde orphaned by Sara Tavares

Published on November 21, 2023

Reading: 2 minutes.

She was a magnificent artist, perhaps the most beautiful voice of the Cape Verdean diaspora throughout the world. On social networks, tributes have been pouring in since November 19 in memory of Sara tavares, singer, guitarist and composer with unforgettable grace, who carried high saudade of its origins.

His Parisian audience recalls from a concert at the Alhambra, at the Au fil des Voix festival, at the beginning of 2012, where a slip on a frozen tarmac and a fracture deprived her of her instrument, leaving the field open to her guitarist, Luiz Caracol. A few years later, she presented, on the same stage, the album which will remain her last, Fitxadu, here earned him a Grammy nomination.


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It was a brain tumor against which she had been fighting for years that finally tore this star from her sad fate. His father having left home, his mother left Lisbon for the South with her young brothers and sisters, and entrusted the child, born in 1978, to an old lady. She raised her as an orphan in the Portuguese capital, where she enjoyed success from her teenage years.

From gospel to Cape Verdean music

Sara learned to sing in church, founded the first gospel choir in Lisbon before being revealed to the general public by winning two televised competitions, then representing Portugal at Eurovision, in 1994. Two years later, its Portuguese-speaking version of the flagship title of the film's soundtrack The Hunchback of Notre Dame earned it the prize for best adaptation, awarded by Disney. She was then 18 years old and began to be interested in Cape Verdean rhythms and learning Creole, elements which she soon incorporated à his music.

“Her label wanted to make her a pop singer,” remembers, from Praia, José Da Silva, founder of the Lusafrica label and ambassador of the music of the archipelago, whom she followed to the island of Santo Antão for the tribute organized the day after death of Cesaria Evora. But she preferred to mix the music of Cape Verde with sounds Africans, notably with his percussionists, the Angolan N'Du, or Miroca Paris, Cesaria's percussionist, who accompanied him on tour. »

Sunny and smiling groove

His first album, Mi Ma Bo (1999) is produced by the Congolese singer Lokua kanza, of which she is a fan. In 2005, “Balance”, and titles like “Bom Feeling” and “One Love”, with a sunny and smiling, full of youth, propelled it onto the international scene. She invites her colleague Ana Moura, soon to be queen of modern fado, on the track “De Nua”, which concludes the album. The following, Xinti (2009), a classic, more introspective and accomplished, is that of maturity.


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“Sara, it was an extraordinary voice, and then the kindness, the gentleness,” continues José Da Silva, who invited him twice to the stage of the Kriol Jazz Festival. And one of the most admired artists of the new generation here, by the public and musicians. »

Informed of his illness, the Cape Verdean public television news dedicated a “wave of solidarity” to him two months ago, et the show The Voice Portugal paid tribute to him, from November 19, as President of the Cape Verdean Republic, José Maria Neves, the next day. Close to the singer Boy Gé Mendes, she had published four new pieces in the space of a year, which we listen to like so many testaments. Sara Tavares leaves a unique work et timeless.


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