Mayra Andrade – Sounds of Cape Verde

On my site, I normally deal with Brazil-related topics obviously but rarely have I covered Portuguese from other countries. I’d like to do that in a sense, now. Recently, I had to chance to talk a little bit with a woman living in Portugal but originally from Cape Verde and she introduced me to a singer called Mayra Andrade who, in my view, is excellent. 


Mayra Andrade (born 1985 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cape Verdean singer who lives and records in Paris, France.

Andrade was born in Cuba but grew up in Senegal, Angola, and Germany. However, she spent around two months of the year in the Cape Verdean island of Santiago. The first song she remembers singing is “O Leãozinho” by the Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso, whom she has cited as a musical influence. Andrade often performed as a teenager and won the 2001 Jeux de la Francophonie songwriting contest at 16, beginning voice lessons in Paris at 17. During this time, she also met the composer Orlando Pantera and began collaborating with him. Andrade then began to perform in various Portuguese-speaking regions, including the Cape Verdean cities Mindelo and Praia as well as Lisbon. She won the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (English: German Record Critics Award) in 2007. She also won the Newcomer award at the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music 2008.

Below is a four-part series (each video running around 6 minutes) of Mayra discussing her debut CD called Navega. She speaks in French the whole time but there are subtitles. 

Part 1

Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.