Here are 7 interesting facts about, Cesária Évora, Africa’s “Barefoot diva” whom Google has honored

World famous vocal singer Cesaria Evora performs during a concert promoting her Grammy award-winning album Voz D'Amor in Romania's capital in Bucharest June 29, 2004.
  • She was known for her exceptionally beautiful voice and managed to rock anyone who listened to her music despite the language barrier.
  • Since her demise, numerous international artists have released songs and albums in homage of her achievement, contribution and mentorship.
  • On Tuesday, in a bid to remember her rich legacy, Google created a special doodle in her honor to celebrate what would have been her 78th birthday.

Cesária Évora, a Cape Verdean singer and Grammy Award-winning recording artist remains one of the biggest musical acts of the 21st century, long after her demise.

She was known for her exceptionally beautiful voice and managed to rock anyone who listened to her music despite the language barrier.

Since her demise in 2011, numerous international artists have released songs and albums in homage of her achievement, contribution and mentorship. Even some streets in Cape Verde and Europe (particularly in France) have been named after her for the great person and singer that she was.

She continues to be celebrated at home and abroad until today.

On Tuesday, in a bid to remember her rich legacy, Google created a special doodle in her honor to celebrate what would have been her 78th birthday.

Considering that, here are 7 interesting facts about Cesária Évora.

She sang in Creole-Portuguese

Cesária Évora composed her music and sang them in Creole-Portuguese. Évora specialised in morna, the traditional music style of Cape Verde. Her songs typically had melancholic, poetic undertones.

Morna is widely considered the national music of Cape Verde as is the merengue for Dominican Republic, the rumba for Cuba, and so on.

One of her most famous songs is a recording of the coladeira song “Sodade”, which encapsulates the nostalgia of emigrants from Cape Verde. Évora included the song, which dates back to the Fifties, in her 1992 album Miss Perfumado.

She performed barefoot on stage

Apart from her exceptionally beautiful voice there was also one striking quality about Cesária Évora; she performed barefoot hence the name the “Barefoot Diva”

Many people have interpreted it as a sign of solidarity with the poor and even being in touch with her humble beginnings.

After the death of her father, a musician, when she was seven, Évora was placed in an orphanage. While she built a reputation as a singer early on in her life, Évora was forced to temporarily give up on music in the 1970s due to financial issues.

She only returned to it in the 1980s and released her first album, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, in 1988.

Cesária Évora, however, disputed this theory, in an interview with The Washington Post in 2001.

“People used to say that I did that in solidarity with the hungry people and all the poor people of the world, but that’s not true.

“In Cape Verde, lots of people are like me. They just don’t like to wear shoes.”

She had a stunning musical career

Born on 27 August, 1941, Évora took up singing as a girl, and as an adult began her career by performing at bars in her hometown of Mindelo.

After several years of singing without major breakthrough, she was eventually spotted by former musician and record producer José da Silva, who urged her to record her music in France.

After she got her start in 1988, Évora released new albums every two years or so over the course of 21 years.

In 2004, her album Voz d’Amor won Best Contemporary World Music Album at the Grammys, following up on her first nomination for the 1995 Cesária.

Her final album, Nha Sentimento​, came out in 2009, two years before her death.

She has an Airport named in her honor

Not many musicians can boast of having airports named after them, Cesária Évora is an exception.

São Pedro Airport which operated since 1960 was renamed Cesária Évora Airport on March 8, 2012, in honour of the singer. 

The airport, which is located on the island of São Vicente, is the third busiest in the tiny island country.

A statue of the singer also stands at the terminal entrance.

She is featured on the new 2000 Escudos banknote

Evora’s face is featured in the new 2000 Escudos banknote which was introduced in December 22, 2014. 

She is featured on a postage stamp

In 2016, the French Embassy in collaboration with Cape Verde Postal Service introduced a stamp called “Cesária Évora and the Bataclan” in Praia.

The stamp commemorates the Cape Verdean singer’s concert at the Bataclan in March 1995, as well as the tragic events that plunged France into mourning on November 13, 2015.

In 2012 Guinea-Bissau also issued a Souvenir Sheet in honour of the popular singer which features an image of the 2004 Grammy she was awarded in the World Music Category for her album “Voz d’Amor”. Evora first appeared in stamp in 2003.

She has two species of animals named after her

A butterfly in the family Lycaenidae named Chilades evorae which is found on the island of Santo Antão and a species of sea slug called Aegires evorae which exists in the northeast of the island of Sal in the area of Calhetinha have been named after Cesária Évora.

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