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  • Cesaria Evora Live in Paris (2001) Complete Concert

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    Singer Cesaria Evora is the cultural ambassador and greatest star of her native country, Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony off the Northwestern coast of Africa. She excels at the highly stylized and emotionally intense ballad style known as the “morna,” a melodramatic, mournful romantic music that is much like the Portuguese fado, full of beautiful, melancholy guitars and impassioned lyrics of love lost and life both savored and endured. For those of us unlucky enough to be unable to attend any of her concerts, here is a splendid presentation of Cesaria and her band, recorded live at the Zenith Theatre in Spring of 2001. The music is all heavenly, a selection of favorites drawn from several albums, including sleek ballads such as “Sodade,” “Miss Perfumado,” and “Angola.” Hovering behind Cesaria are images of Cape Verde’s hills, beaches and towns, while onstage, some of the country’s finest musicians strum out gorgeous melodies. The one trouble with this video is the editing: the French producers seem to favor montages, including crossfades and overlays of the rear-projected images and the musicians onstage. This technique quickly becomes intrusive and detracts from the beauty of the performance — personally, I would have preferred a few more lingering close-ups of the singer and her guitarists as they sank into the melancholy depths of the music. But still, this is a lovely glimpse at one of world music’s great modern divas. Fans will be overjoyed!

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