«Un viaggio nel cuore della musica, della melodia, dei sentimenti del mondo: il “Cafè Atlantico” di Cesaria Evora è un locale in cui s’incontrano le correnti del cuore, dove è possibile star seduti a guardare il mondo che passa, ad ascoltare storie raccontate da vecchi esploratori e lupi di mare, storie d’amore e di vita che ognuno può far proprie con semplicità. Chi ha amato i dischi precedenti di Cesaria Evora non può mancare questo nuovo disco, chi non conosce ancora l’artista capoverdina deve provare ad ascoltarla in questo piccolo grande gioiello. Non è "world music" ma grande canzone, vicina al cuore del mondo, cantata da un artista a dir poco straordinaria.» (Ernesto Assante, Repubblica)
With every album released and every international concert tour, Cesaria Evora has become one of the major discoveries of the 90’s. Thanks to La Diva aux pieds nus (the barefoot diva), Morna, an ocean-going form of the blues sung in Capeverdean Creole, and its more joyful companion Coladera are forever etched on the map of popular music that emerged at the turn of the century. They join Fado from Portugal, Samba from Brazil, Tango from Argentina and the Cuban Son. Cesaria has dedicated her album Café Atlantico (the seventh, released in 1999), to her birthplace Mindelo, a port on the island of São Vicente. «The safest port-of-call between Gibraltar and the Cape of Good Hope» was developed at the end of the last century for maritime trade linking Europe, Africa and America. It was recorded with Bau (guitars, cavaquinho and arrangements) and her regular musicians. Café Atlantico adds some new gems to the inexhaustible repertoire of songs composed by Cesaria’s favourite songwriters: Manuel de Novas, Teofilo Chantre, Pedro Rodrigues, B. Leza, Ti Goy, joined by Gerard Mendes and Daniel Spencer for the first time. This album, produced in Paris and Havana, marks a new departure with the inclusion of Cuban musicians and the collaboration of Brazilian cellist-arranger Jacques Morelenbaum, whose film music (Central do Brazil) and work with Caetano Veloso have made their mark. Brazil, a little bit of Africa in the New World, and Cape Verde, are brother countries.
Cuba, is the sister island whose rhythms have the whole world’s feet tapping. Cesaria knows many Brazilian songs from the 40’ and 50’. Her repertoire has always included Spanish standards, like Besame Mucho and Maria Elena from the days when she sang in bars. Certain nuances that have always been perceptible in Capeverdean music and so cherished by Cesaria, are gently accentuated in Café Atlantico. Morna, the Portuguese Fado and the Brazilian Samba that travelled across the Atlantic, back in the days of the slavery trade, share a common chord. In the Brazilian plantations its original Angolan roots were blended with the drawing-room music of their Portuguese masters.
The Cape Verde archipelago endured five centuries of Portuguese colonisation until its independence in 1975, the dust of the islands battered by the Atlantic Ocean waves, were laid to waste by the drought. Its musical and lyrical identity were forged through the straits of exile: it was its inhabitants’ only means of escaping the rigours of an unproductive land. Mindelo, its wharves and bars, scene of dockers and sailors toiling away, the heart-rending separations and the joy of reunions was where soulful Morna and the more buoyant, upbeat Coladera originated.
The yearning for a better life in far-off countries, projected attachment to their native land, nostalgic for dear ones, the sodade, inspired the poets. Composers on the other hand absorbed the influences brought over by passing seamen from Portugal, Argentina, Brazil, and the Caribbean... Harbour activity in the Mindelo of our times is a shadow of what it used to be, but the Morna unites the Capeverdean Diaspora scattered across the globe in Portugal, Holland, and the United States. The memory that is representative of the collective destiny of the Capeverdean people is embedded in the Mornas and coladeras, old and new. Café Atlantico revives Mindelo’s past splendour, when hundreds of boats filled the port and thus filled the bars with sailors and musicians... It was a time of prosperity, transoceanic exchanges and musical influences threshed from one side of the Atlantic to the other that saw the birth of Capeverdean music and the rise of Morna. (Lusafrica)
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