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Concha Buika - Mi Niña Lola "A Mi Manera"

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Mayra Andrade - Navega [2007]

Carrying her deep, warm and velvety voice, Mayra ascribes in Navega, a unique jazzy touch to traditional songs of funana, batuque, mornas and coladeiras. Her talent brings a true breath of freshness to the music of Cabo Verde islands -- the legacy of a blend of African and European rhythms.

Born in La Havana, Cuba, in 1985, the precocious talents of Mayra Andrade first reached a world stage in 2001. That’s when the singer won her country’s first Gold Medal at the Jeux de la Francophonie in Canada. Her crystalline and agile voice has since graced stages on the four continents. In 2006, Andrade released her first CD, “Navega”, on the Sony/BMG label.

"Navega", Mayra Andrade's debut album, has just won the prestigious German Records Critics' Award (Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik)! The jury is composed of 114 musical journalists.

Track List:

1. Dimocransa
2. Lapidu Na Bo
3. Mana
4. Tunuca
5. Comme S'il En Pleuvait
6. Nha Sibitchi
7. Lua
8. Navega
9. Poc Li Dente É Tcheu
10. Dispidida
11. Regasu
12. Nha NobrÉZa

Review Excerpts (Chris May,

With Navega (which means “upon the waves”), a poised and totally gorgeous debut album by the 23 year-old singer Mayra Andrade, the Cape Verdean, Cuba star has arrived—and one whose journey to “overnight success” is likely to be measured in months rather than decades. Andrade's musici is a mixture of far-flung influences, in which traditional Cape Verdean rhythms and song-forms blend with Brazilian samba and bossa nova, jazz and a little French chanson. Her sound is sunny, infectiously upbeat concoction, full of light and joie de vivre, and it will put a spring in the step of the weariest listener.

Most of the music is acoustic, played by a core trio of Cape Verdean guitarist Kim Alves, Cameroonian bassist Etienne Mbappe and Brazilian percussionist Ze Luis Nascimento, augmented on some tracks by guest musicians on accordion, saxophone, trombone, guitar, cello or percussion. Nimble and unfailingly lyrical, the music wears its rhythmic sophistication lightly. Alves adds a variety of other fretted instruments for color, most frequently the treble-pitched, four string cavaquinho. Mbappe's bass—a sumptuously resonant acoustic instrument on five of the twelve tracks—locks with Nascimento's symphonic range of percussion to settle the grooves and trigger the tempo and rhythm changes.

All but one of the songs were written, and are sung, in Cape Verdean Creole. Four are by the iconic late Cape Verdean “new batuco” composer, Orlando Pantera, and three are Andrade originals. The accompanying booklet includes English and French translations of all the lyrics, and for once the exercise is justified. The songs have real substance, some, like “Dimonkransa” (democracy), dealing with weighty issues, and all are expressed with degrees of nuance and poetry which make them worth reading.

A remarkable debut. If music had the power of extending summertime long into the fall, Navega might do it.

Read full review here:

Latin,World, Brazilian Samba and Bossa Nova, Jazz, French Chanson

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