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The Queen of Morna: Cesaria Evora

Dec. 23, 2011

Well here we are- close to Christmas and in the midst of Hanukkah. So this week on Radio M some music for the occasions.

Also,  we remember the artist who was known as the Barefoot Diva. Cesaria Evora began singing in the bars of  the Cape Verdean town of Mindelo when she was 16 years old. But she didn't record her first album until she was 50. It didn't take very long for her soulful voice to captivate audiences around the world. She introduced millions of pairs of ears to the music of morna; Cape Verde's national music that's similar in feel to Portuguese fado and American blues.  She received a Grammy nomination for her 1995 international release Cesaria and finally a Grammy for the 2006 release Voz D'Amor.

Her stage presence was as artful as her singing; she'd often take a seat at a small bistro table set up on stage during instrumental sections of songs, light up a smoke and sip off a drink. And then there was the absence of shoes on her feet. The barefoot Diva went shoeless in honor she said of the poor women and children of her country. The Queen of Morna was 70. We'll hear her music this week on Radio M.