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Sara Tavares

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					                                        Sara Tavares
                                            Biography

A leading representative of the new generation of Cape Verdean singers who emerged in the
wake of Césaria Évora’s transglobal success, Sara was born off the islands, and part of the
generation whose parents migrated from the bleak Atlantic islands off the coast of Senegal, to
Portugal, in search of work.

 Through the remarkable success of her 2006 release Balancê, Tavares acquired international
status, with fans throughout Europe and the U.K. Her American profile was given a major boost
when singer/songwriter Lucinda Williams named her as one of her favorite artists in The New
York Times, saying “Sara Tavares has a very fresh perspective…life is fun, life is glorious, live
in the moment.” Now Tavares is back with a magnificent collection of self-penned and self-
produced songs which the Financial Times of London calls “instantly memorable…bright with
ukelele and her own acoustic guitar.”

 As a teenager, Tavares founded the first Portuguese Gospel Choir in Lisbon and decided music
was to be her destiny. Her favourite singers of the day were Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and
Donnie Hathaway. In 1994, she won a national TV competition, and entered the Eurovision Song
Contest. From there, a contract with BMG records brought Sara’s band their self-titled debut CD,
Sara Tavares And Shout.

 During the immediate years that followed, the singer was drawn from gospel and pop music into
Lisbon’s burgeoning African and Cape Verdean music scenes. Her 1999 debut solo album, Mi
Ma Bô [finally released in the U.S. last year as part of a 2CD/DVD collection Alive in Lisboa on
Times Square ] was still rooted in R’n’B, but its producer, the Paris-based African artist and
producer Lokua Kanza, helped Tavares find an upbeat Afro-pop mix. It earned her a gold disc in
Portugal and a nomination for the Portuguese Grammies (Globos de Oero) for Best Artist/New
Album.

  The second album, Balancê (also on Times Square) was Sara Tavares’ international launch pad;
the promotional tour took her through Europe, to Japan and the U.S. The focus of her songs had
shifted entirely to Cape Verdean and African music, and they were sung in Portuguese, Cape
Verdean Creole and local street slang. A gorgeous album, its songs move to rhythms rooted in the
islands and to the African Diaspora. Tavares explained that “Balancê” was about “taking life with
a swing; being balanced and never taking yourself too seriously.” Live performances by the
dreadlocked singer were sensual and moving, intense and lightly funky: songs for listening and
dancing, showcasing her extraordinary range from soaring highs to bluesy depths, all interlaced
with flights of jazzy Creole scats.

The new album Xinti (pronounced ZHIN-tee) moves the story forward, echoing the singer’s inner
journey. Some were written on the road during the Balancê tour, and worked out in her home
studio. And most are carried on waves of delicate, often complex guitar melodies.

Where Tavares’ earlier songs was built around issues of Cape Verdean identity, Xinti explores
the world of inner conflicts, using music, as Sara describes it, “like an inner prayer from someone
taking a deep breath and moving on.” An example is the sensual “Exala” (Exhale), a showcase for
her angular guitar and her lyrical musings on “listening to what isn’t spoken.”
 Listening to the wind is the theme of the languid “Voz di Vento” (Voice of the Wind) where,
underlying the vocals, are warbling rhythms from an Afro-Brazilian drum and vibes that suggest
rain drops. The dreamy “Manso, Manso” (Softly, Softly) lays a track vocal part over recordings
made by the singer in the streets of Lisbon.

 Tavares’ philosophical sub-texts inhabit many of these new songs but they’re also still immersed
in music made for moving, shimmying, dancing. The upbeat “Keda Livre” (Freefall), is a funkily
percussive, Afrobeat concoction appropriate for a song about the dangerous excitement of
passion, “a love attack!” as the singer describes it.

 This superb collection is packed with surprises that display how much more complete and wide-
ranging Sara Tavares’s vocal repertoire has become since “Balancê.” Her songs on Xinti suggest
a woman on a personal – but universal – journey, a woman wise beyond her years. All we have to
do is “feel it”

                                           LINEUP:

                                  Sara Tavares (voice/guitar)

                                Ivo Filipe Barros Costa (drums)

                          Luis Miguel de Carvalho Leal Caracol (bass)

                         Joao Baptista da Luz Monteiro (ukulele/guitar)

                           Geoclandio de Fatima Lopes (percussion)

				
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posted:7/7/2011
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