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Awards for World Music 2008
Mayra Andrade
Mayra Andrade album cover

Ever since Cesaria Evora put the desolate, windswept archipelago of Cape Verde on the map in the late '80s, fans of the islands' gently accessible morna ballads and more upbeat coladeiras have been waiting for someone to step into her shoes. But she's not called the barefoot diva for nothing, and though emerging female Cape Verdean artists such as Mayra Andrade are bound to be compared to her, there's only one Cesaria. It's more instructive to see Andrade as part of the 'Pantera generation', which includes young artists like Tcheka and previous nominee Lura. All three have been influenced by Orlando Pantera, a songwriter who modernised two of Cape Verde's more African rhythms, (batuku and tabanka) before his untimely death in 2001. Andrade's assured debut Navega (2006) features four of his songs, but also shows her to be a budding songwriter.

Like so many Cape Verdeans, Andrade has spent much of her life abroad, and lived in Angola, Senegal and Germany before settling in Paris in 2002. It was here that she began her show business career in earnest. However, she had spent many of her formative years on the Cape Verdean island of Santiago, where she recalls singing Brazilian songs at the age of five or six, accompanied on guitar by an older cousin. She's unsure whether it's a co-incidence or not, but the musicians she fell in with in Paris were all Brazilian too. Even so, Andrade¹s music sounds like a love letter to her island roots, and explores a wide range of Cape Verde¹s indigenous styles.

If Navega ('Upon the waves') seems to showcase a mature, fully formed artist, it's because she had built up to making it by honing her skills as a performer over half a decade. This long apprenticeship included winning a gold medal for her singing at the Francophonie Games in Canada, recording songs with Lenine, Chico Buarque and Charles Aznavour and­ naturellement ­ supporting Cesaria onstage in Paris. Just before her UK debut at London's Purcell Room in May 2007, Andrade also scooped the prestigious Preis der Deutshen Shallplattenkritik, (German Record Critics Award). Maybe next time we see her there'll be a British feather in her cap.

Jon Lusk.


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

Jocelyn Cabrera--USA
Mayra Andrade is a sophisticated singer, she sings from the heart and soul

Fátima São Simão, Portugal
I too saw this lovely mermaid, whose voice is like sunshine on the white sands of Cape Verde's beaches. Her songs drawned my heart in a hot, languorous summer night, in Porto. I was touched by seeing Mayra here, at the Barbican, on the 16th March 2008, almost one year after discovering Navega. Her soft melodies bring you back home, wherever you come from.

Mobbs, London
I too saw Mayra at the Barbican in support to Angelique Kidjo and she was simply amazing! One of her songs, the one that got a standing ovation for the drama, emotional scope and range that her voice went throught is sadly not on the wonderful cd Navega. I heard her sing it again on R3 on Saturday's broadcast of the 16th March concert. Its called Kem ki bern ki ta bai and it should definitely have been included on the cd. Its so moving and unique. Hear it on Listen again, if you missed it.

Nuno B.- US of A - FL
Good deal... Keep up with the good work you have been doing Mayra represent OUR litlle country in the highest placesYOU GOT A LOVE IT ...

Leida, Pittsburgh, USA
Parabens, Mayrocas!!Well-deserved award. Here's to a brilliant fledgling career!

Nuno - Cape Verde
Força Mayra.

N=maliha bhatti-L=canada
i just can't understand what mayra andrade does in the song and maybe you should tell a little about the song stuff in the description like what if we are in the library and not allowed to put loud noises

alex, london
saw Mayra supporting Angelique Kidjo last year and going to see her at the Barbican Sunday 16th March. Fabulous talent. Well worth exploring if you're not familiar with her music.

Luca a Danzica, Polonia
Mayra... Young, talented, femine ! And her "Navega" is exactly the same :D 100 % of pure joy in nearly 50 minuites :-)

nisimo, kent
'Captivating'..... just saw this angel on Late with Jools Holland. Angel voice, angel looks, and ..simply captivating; and Brazil connections ...what else do i need?

Gavin, Derbyshire
So beautiful. I will have to buy the CD Navega

beautiful stuff

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