Cesária Évora

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Cesária Évora
Cesária Évora 2008.jpg
Cesária Évora in 2008
Background information
Born (1941-08-27)27 August 1941
Mindelo, Cape Verde
Died 17 December 2011(2011-12-17) (aged 70)
São Vicente, Cape Verde
Genres Morna
Occupations Singer
Years active 1957–2011

Cesária Évora (Portuguese pronunciation: [sɨˈzaɾiɐ ˈɛvuɾɐ]; 27 August 1941 – 17 December 2011) was a Cape Verdean popular singer. Nicknamed the "Barefoot Diva" for performing without shoes,[1] she was also known as the "Queen of Morna".[2]

Life and career[edit]

"Cise" (as she was known to friends) was born on 27 August 1941 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. When she was seven years old her father (who was a part-time musician[3]) died, and at the age of ten she was placed in an orphanage, as her mother could not raise all six children. At the age of 16, she was persuaded by a friend to sing in a sailors' tavern.[2]

In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio. It was only in 1985 when at the invitation of Cape Verdean singer Bana she went to perform in Portugal. In Lisbon she was discovered by the producer José da Silva and invited to record in Paris.[4]

Évora's international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, recorded in France.[2] Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide, and included one of her most celebrated songs, "Sodade".[5]

Her 1995 album Cesária brought her broader international success and the first Grammy Award nomination.[2] In 1997, she won KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: "Best Artist of West Africa", "Best Album" and "Merit of the Jury".[6] In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category.[2]

In 2010, Évora performed a series of concerts, the last of which was in Lisbon on 8 May. Two days later, after a heart attack, she was operated on at a hospital in Paris. On the morning of 11 May 2010 she was taken off artificial pulmonary ventilation, and on 16 May she was discharged from the intensive-care unit and transported to a clinic for further treatment. In late September 2011, Évora's agent announced that she was ending her career due to poor health.[7]

On 17 December 2011, aged 70, Évora died in São Vicente, Cape Verde, from respiratory failure and hypertension.[8] A Spanish newspaper reported that 48 hours before her death she was still receiving people – and smoking – in her home in Mindelo, popular for always having its doors open.[9]


The house of Cesária Évora.

Studio albums[edit]

Compilations & live albums[edit]

  • Live à l'Olympia (Live album, recorded at the Paris Olympia, 12 & 13 June 1993)
  • Sodade – Les Plus Belles Mornas de Cesária (Best of compilation, 1994)
  • Club Sodade (Remix album, 1996)
  • Colors of the World (Allegro Music, 1997)
  • Live Lugano July 1997 (Live album, recorded at Lugano, 1997)
  • Best Of' (Best of compilation, 1998) CAN: Gold[10]
  • Great Expectations film soundtrack. 1998 Atlantic Records featuring Bésame Mucho
  • Anthology (Best of compilation, 2002)
  • Les Essentiels (Best of compilation, 2003)
  • Anthologie – Mornas & Coladeras (Double CD edition of Anthology, 2004)
  • Live d'Amor (Live DVD, recorded in 2004 at Le Grand Rex, Paris, 2004)
  • Un Geste Pour Haiti"
  • Grand Collection (Best of compilation, 2007)
  • The Essential Cesaria Evora (2 CD set 2010)
  • Radio Mindelo (Best of compilation, 2010)

Posthumous albums[edit]

  • 16 Biggest Hits (Best of compilation, 2012)
  • Super Hits (Best of compilation, 2013)
  • Mae Carinhosa (2013)


  • Cabo Verde (1991)
  • Mar Azul (1991)
  • Sodade (1992)
  • Nha Cancera Ka Tem Medida (1995)
  • Apocalipse (1997)
  • Cabo Verde Manda Mantenha (1999)
  • Carnaval De Sao Vicente (2000)
  • Nutridinha (2001)
  • Tiempo Y Silencio (2001) (with Pedro Guerra)
  • Yamore (2002) (with Salif Keita)
  • Mar De Canal (2003)
  • Africa Nossa (2006) (with Ismael Lo)
  • Ligereza (2009)

Music videos[edit]

Year Video
1991 "Cabo Verde"
"Mar Azul"
1992 "Sodade"
1995 "Nha Cancera Ka Tem Medida"
2001 "Tiempo Y Silencio" (with Pedro Guerra)
2002 "Yamore" (with Salif Keita)
2003 "Mar De Canal"
2006 "Africa Nossa" (with Ismael Lo)


External links[edit]