Cesária Évora (Portuguese pronunciation: sɨˈzaɾiɐ ˈɛvuɾɐ; 27 August 1941 - 17 December 2011) was a Cape Verdean popular singer. Nicknamed the "Barefoot Diva" for performing without shoes, she was also known as the "Queen of Morna".
Life and career:
"Cise" (as she was known to friends) was born on 27 August 1941 in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde. When she was seven years old her father, who was a part-time musician, died, and at the age of ten she was placed in an orphanage, as her mother could not raise all six children. At the age of 16, she was persuaded by a friend to sing in a sailors' tavern.
In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio. It was only in 1985 when at the invitation of Cape Verdean singer Bana she went to perform in Portugal. In Lisbon she was discovered by the producer José da Silva and invited to record in Paris.
Évora's international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first commercial album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, recorded in France. Prior to the release of the La Diva Aux Pieds Nus album, Cesaria recorded her first LP titled "Cesaria" in 1987. This Album was later released on CD in 1995 as Audiophile Legends. Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. It included one of her most celebrated songs, "Sodade".
Her 1995 album Cesária brought her broader international success and the first Grammy Award nomination. In 1997, she won KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: "Best Artist of West Africa", "Best Album" and "Merit of the Jury". In 2003, her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category.
In 2006 in Italy Cesaria met Alberto Zeppieri (songwriter, journalist and record producer), who would dedicate to her "Capo Verde, terra d'amore" (www.capoverde-italia.it), taking care of all creative adaptations in Italian. Cesaria agreed to duet with Gianni Morandi 2, Gigi D'Alessio 3 and Ron 4. The project, now in its fifth volume, gives visibility and raises funds for the UN World Food Programme, for which Cesaria was the Ambassador from 2003.
In 2010, Évora performed a series of concerts, the last of which was in Lisbon on 8 May. Two days later, after a heart attack, she was operated on at a hospital in Paris. On the morning of 11 May 2010 she was taken off artificial pulmonary ventilation, and on 16 May she was discharged from the intensive-care unit and transported to a clinic for further treatment. In late September 2011, Évora's agent announced that she was ending her career due to poor health.
On 17 December 2011, aged 70, Évora died in São Vicente, Cape Verde, from respiratory failure and hypertension. A Spanish newspaper reported that 36 hours before her death she was still receiving people - and smoking - in her home in Mindelo, popular for always having its doors open.
On 3 September 2013, her name was boosted publicly by the Belgian musician Stromae, when he released his famous album Racine Carrée that includes "Ave Cesaria", a track that honours Cesária Évora, one of Stromae's favourite artists.,
On December 22, 2014, the Banco de Cabo Verde introduced a new series of banknotes that honor Cape Verdean figures in the fields of literature, music, and politics. Her face was featured in the new 2000 Escudos banknote.