Sara Tavares

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Sara Tavares
Background information
Birth nameSara Alexandra Lima Tavares
Born (1978-02-01) 1 February 1978 (age 45)
Lisbon, Portugal
Years active1994–present
Sara Tavares signing her latest record in Warsaw in September 2011.

Sara Alexandra Lima Tavares (born 1 February 1978) is a Portuguese singer, composer, guitarist and percussionist. She was born and brought up in Lisbon, Portugal, where she still lives. Second-generation Portuguese of Cape Verdean descent, she composes African, Portuguese and North American influenced world music. She composes in Portuguese and Portuguese-based creole languages. Although Portuguese is the main language of her songs, it's not rare to find in her repertoire multilingual songs mixing Portuguese with Portuguese creole and even English in the same song (e.g."One Love").

Tavares won the 1993/1994 final of the Endemol song contest Chuva de Estrelas (performing Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time"), which helped her win the Portuguese Television Song Contest final in 1994, consequently earning a place in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, with the song "Chamar a Música" reaching 8th place.

She's also known for singing the European-Portuguese version of "God Help the Outcasts" for the Disney movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame," which won a Disney award for the best version of the original song. She also won a Portuguese Golden Globe for Best Portuguese Singer in 2000.

Early life[edit]

Tavares' parents were immigrants from Cape Verde that settled in Almada in the 70s.[2] While still a child, she was left in the care of an old woman when her father left the family and her mother moved to the south of the country with her younger siblings.[3]

Tavares showed great musical promise from a young age; in 1994 she won the national television song contest Chuva de Estrelas,[4][5] performing Whitney Houston's "One Moment in Time".[5] That same year, she won the Festival da Canção, that earned Tavares a slot in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest[3] at the age of 16. Her winning song, "Chamar a Música," was featured on her debut EP, Sara Tavares & Shout (1996), where Tavares mixed gospel and funk with her native Portuguese influences.

Her debut album Mi Ma Bô was produced by Lokua Kanza and released in 1999.[6]

In 2017, eight years after Xinti, Tavares released Fitxadu.[7] The album was inspired in Lisbon's different African sounds and cultures and features a more electronic and urban sound than Tavares' previous works.[8] The album received a Latin Grammy nomination for Best Portuguese Language Roots Album.[9]


Sara Tavares has named Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin as her favorite childhood artists.[3] Her music is noted to feature a blending of cultures,[10] particularly those of Portugal and Cape Verde.[1] Tavares is among a group of Portuguese-born artists of African origins, that helped bring African influences to mainstream music in Portugal.[11]


  • Sara Tavares & Shout (1996)
  • Mi Ma Bô (1999)
  • Balancê (2006)
  • Alive! in Lisboa (2008)
  • Xinti (2009)
  • Fitxadu (2017)[4]


  1. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (23 January 2007). "Individualists, Straddling Cultures and Exporting Ideas". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  2. ^ Bonifácio, João (1 May 2009). "Sara Tavares, uma mulher do seu tempo" (in Portuguese). Público. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Steward, Sue (30 November 2007). "Careful whispers". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  4. ^ a b Dias de Almeida, Pedro (20 November 2017). "'Fitxadu': Sara Tavares é do mundo, outra vez" (in Portuguese). Visão. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Após vencer 'The Voice' de Portugal, cantora larga gospel e volta às origens" (in Portuguese). BBC Brasil. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  6. ^ Lusk, Jon. "Awards for World Music 2007 - Sara Tavares". BBC Radio 3.
  7. ^ Frota, Gonçalo (20 October 2017). "Sara Tavares à escuta dos sons que a rodeiam" (in Portuguese). Público. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  8. ^ Pereira, Mariana (28 October 2017). "Sara Tavares voltou e canta feliz como um puto atrás da bola" (in Portuguese). Diário de Notícias. Archived from the original on 26 November 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2019.
  9. ^ Merrill, Philip (20 September 2018). "2018 Latin GRAMMY Awards Complete Winners List". Grammy Awards. Retrieved 12 January 2020.
  10. ^ Espiner, Mark (19 March 2006). "Sara Tavares, Balancê". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  11. ^ Sieber, p. 142


External links[edit]

Preceded by Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Preceded by Eurovision Song Contest
Final Interval act

with Branko & Mayra Andrade
Succeeded by