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Awards for World Music 2007 - Newcomer
Sara Tavares

Sara Tavare album cover
The West African archipelago of Cape Verde has always punched above its weight when it comes to music. The likes of Cesaria Evora, Voz de Cabo Verde and Bana were the first to take their morna and coladeira overseas, part of a generation of emigrants leaving their barren, isolated home – some for good. And let’s not forget where the popular ’70s soul group Tavares came from. These days it’s the children of that Diaspora we’re hearing more from – born abroad, but with a strong sense of their parents’ roots. Last year, one such nominee was Lura, and now it’s the turn of Sara Tavares.

Sara was born in Lisbon, although sadly her parents abandoned her there to pursue their dreams elsewhere, leaving her in the care of a Portuguese woman. Maybe that’s why one of the strongest messages in her work is the importance of self esteem, both personally and on behalf of her own community of Africans born outside ‘the Motherland’. Whatever it is, her sweet and swinging music radiates a positivity that effortlessly jumps the language barrier.

Influenced by gospel, funk and soul as a child, she naturally gravitated towards a musical career. At 16, she won two of Portugal’s national song contests, which led to her representing her country in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest. Two years later, the EP Sara Tavares & Shout was released, and in 1999 she recorded her debut album Mi Ma Bô with producer Lokua Kanza, combining African rhythms and a pop feel.

But it’s her second album Balancê (2006), with its Cape Verdean, Portuguese and Brazilian flavours that has really won her a wider audience and led to tours of Europe, North America and Japan. Not only did she write the bulk of the songs, she also produced and arranged it. Then there’s her supple, soulful vocals and guitar playing. Sara Tavares is a fully rounded artist, or ‘balanced’, as she puts it:

Balancê is about taking life with a swing…balancing my history, my heritage, my daily life and my future, balancing emotion in my heart – the tears and the joy.”

Jon Lusk.

Sara Tavares website
Read other people's comments then Tell us what you think:

She was my nursery mate and my neighbour in Portugal.She is one amazing and strong person,I know everthing about her past...well done. I'm very proud of you...all the bests for you Sara.I want see her in LondonSabina

Bunmi, Washington DC
I dont understand a word of what she's singing but I can't help but love it and sing along. Balance eee...Balance aaaa! She's magic!

angeline in london
I saw her perform at a prestigous event in London last year. The stage was close and she was at ease with the small crowd! She was truly amazing. Best of all one of her songs mentions the soulful Zimbabweans!

Silv - Camberley UK
I'm in to lounge/soulful house and that's how I first heard of her. I love her music it's amazing - it just sweeps you off your feet and transfers you to a little Mediterranean bar on a warm summers evening. When is she coming to the UK?

Sofia, Portugal
Great singer, i´m very happy for her! :)

this is the most beautifull thing I have ever seen and heard in my life...

Nelson Maximiano, Maputo - Mozambique
Sara is blessed. She is tremendously talented and shows mature day after day. Her voice is convincing. She is currently one of the best african singers. I have grown during my youth listening to Sara Tavares musics. It was ilariant. I am looking forward to meet her dominance in the near future. This is likely to occur very soon. Moreover, she is prety and complete in many aspects. Juicy Kisses Nelson Maximiano (Mama Africa)

if you havent heard some really good music try sara tavares listening to her music in winter on a grey day will certainly brings an uplifting feeling of warmer climates and lets the sunshine in.go on give her music a try you wont be dissapointed.

Ron White
Very agreeable, but lacks the depth, the edge of Cesaria Evora.

Why is portugues music so ignored? Once you look beyonf fado there is a wealth of regional music in Portugal - please investigate it more, it is such a rich European tradition.

luis azevedo
sara tavares is the great voice of the new generation of portuguese singers!! she is a great performer alive!!!her sweet voice make us dream about the paradise where she´s the angel!!i really like her melodies!!!

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