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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cape Verde; rosés

Last evening, the night was clean, clear, and with a breeze, a beautiful June rarity in normally muggy D.C. A friend chose the evening to introduce me to the music of Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora at Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts.

[Evora] is known as the 'barefoot diva' because of her propensity to appear on stage in her bare feet in support of the homeless and poor women and children of [Cape Verde].

There's a strong feeling of cultural melange (even hints of Eastern European) mixed into her music ... occasionally I felt as if I could have danced the polka, that is, if if I had added more hip movement! And there's an intimacy implied by her mournful tunes, something the amplification didn't fully allow. Évora has a powerful yet- paradoxically - intimate alto-timbered voice.

The opening act was Brazilian Seu Jorge, who performed accompanied only with his guitar.

I first heard Jorge in Wes Anderson and Bill Murray's (almost) brilliant movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, for which he sang Brazilian covers of David Bowie material (and had an on-screen role).

About his performance last night, my sitting-on-the-lawn-companion had a similar observation about the lack of vocal intimacy.

Yes and no: as above I think it was more of the need for amplification in a large venue that may have done this. And Jorge tends to sing with more force than one might expect in traditional samba. But I found him to imbue his neo-sambas with almost a beat box percussive vocal style and orchestral timber ... to entertaining effect.

My beverage choice last evening? I slummed it (again), eschewing noble beer for wine. More about this apostacy: NEXT.

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