On Sunday evening June 30, 2013 I found myself searching an external hard drive for my pod cast of Emma Woodlouse’s father from J. Austen’s novel Emma, but what I found were two mp3 recordings by Cesaria Evora that reminded me of the rather brief time not too long ago that I used to hear her on CBC radio. My surprise at having forgotten her singing led to my searching Online to see if either of the two recordings I had was the one that originally attracted my attention. When I accidentally came upon an entire video concert,D’Amore 2004 of Evora performing in Paris, my desire to find that tune ended, as my attraction to the concert replaced it.
The first thing that caught my attention were the musicians who would accompany her. Their dress was striking only in the sense that each player seemed to be wearing what he might always wear on the street or at a day job. And there seemed to be a great many of them, so many I thought, that as a group including Evora, paying them might be too expensive to give each person a living wage. When Evora entered to sing her first song she smiled benignly, a smile that kept returning throughout the tunes I saw her performing. One song followed the other without any indication that she was tiring or that the smile might not return. The music seemed uncomplicated and wistfully melodic with a kind of Latin rhythm. that seemed to never intrude on her calm composure. And though her group’s instrumentation was mostly rhythmic, the instruments created a kind of spontaneous orchestration that made their accompaniments sound almost classical. The language of Evora’s lyrics was Portuguese, apparently a kind of Afro Portuguese. An Online note indicated that she had died at the age of 70 in December 2011 in Sao Vicente, Cape Verde.