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

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.

Cazuza – SDBT 7

Yet another great singer who died before his time…

Agenor Miranda Araújo Neto, better known as Cazuza (4 April 1958 – 7 July 1990) was a Brazilian composer, singer and poet, born in Rio de Janeiro. Along with Raul Seixas, Renato Russo and Os Mutantes, Cazuza is considered one of the best exponents of Brazilian rock music.

Barão Vermelho

In 1980, after shortly living in San Francisco, he returned to Rio, where he worked with the theatrical group Asdrúbal Trouxe o Trombone (Asdrúbal Brought the Trombone). There he was noticed by the novice singer/composer Leo Jaime, who introduced him to a beginning rock band that needed a vocalist, the Barão Vermelho. With this very successful eighties Brazilian rock band, who had their greatest success with “Bete Balanço”, a song that was part of the soundtrack of a film, Cazuza began his career as a singer. In 1985, Cazuza took part in Rock in Rio with Barão Vermelho, and around this time, Caetano Veloso claimed he was the greatest Brazilian poet of his generation. It was also in this same year that Cazuza was infected with theAIDS virus, precipitating his desire to leave the band in order to obtain a greater freedom in composition and expression, both musically and lyrically.

Solo Career

After he left the band, Cazuza’s music began to diversify, incorporating elements of the blues in songs such as “Blues da Piedade” (Blues of Compassion), “Só as mães são felizes” (Only Mothers Are Happy) and “Balada da Esplanada” (Ballad of the Esplanade), which was based on a poem of the same name by Oswald de Andrade; showcasing increasingly intimate lyrics, like those in “Só se for a Dois” (Only If It Will Be Two), as well as opening itself up to influences from Brazilian pop music with interpretations of Cartola’s “O Mundo é um Moinho”, Raul Seixas’s “Cavalos Calados” (Silent Horses) and Caetano Veloso’s “Esse Cara” (This Guy).

Contrary to what usually happens once an artist leaves a band that has made them famous, Cazuza’s solo career proved to be more successful than that of his former group. “Exagerado” (Exaggerated), “O Tempo não Pára” (Time Doesn’t Stop), and “Ideologia” (Ideology) were his greatest hits and proved to be a great influence on subsequent Brazilian musicians.

Final Years

In 1989, he admitted publicly for the first time that he had AIDS and released his last album: Burguesia. Cazuza was openly bisexual but was not active in the gay movement. However his openness about being a person with AIDS helped to change public perceptions and attitudes about HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Cazuza died in Rio de Janeiro on July 7, 1990 at the age of 32 from an AIDS related illness.

Brasil
 

Ideologia

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