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Mariade Barros

Cape Verdean chanteuse Maria de Barros invites us into her culture’s joyful musical tradition with her new album DANÇA MA MI, (Dance With Me). “This album is filled with romance,” she mentions. On her first album, NHA MUNDO (My World), which received wide-spread acclaim,de Barros sang about the beauty of Cabo Verde and a longing for the island. All of the songs on DANÇA are filled with stories of love and romance. Amor Luz is a tribute to a woman in love; Espaço Infinito tells of a love lost; Rosinha waits patiently for her beloved to return and marry her; while the love for Cabo Verde itself shines on Um Tem Um Amor. "The stories told in the songs are poetic description of real and profound human emotions that are not just felt by Cabo Verdeans, but by the rest of the world," she adds. In addition to the African and Latin flavored coladeiras and bluesy mornas common to her culture’s music, de Barros introduces another intoxicating rhythm, the funana. “This rhythm is driven by an instrument called a ferro, which is simply a piece of metal played with a spoon,” she explains. Undeniably danceable and joyful, both rhythm and instrument can be heard on Pazinho Laxa and Sol di Manha. Through song, de Barros expresses the important influence that French culture and music had on her own life growing up in West Africa with the coladeira-tinged Caresse Moi, a French-Caribbean song, originally sung by Marijosé Alie. In fact, this welcome to de Barros’ musical world is an intriguing geography lesson. A native of Dakar, Senegal, de Barros lived the first 13 years of her life in Nouackchott, Mauritania in northwest Africa. Her creative heart, however, lies in the culturally rich Cabo Verde, a former Portuguese colony located 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, the birthplace of her parents. The oldest of five children, de Barros moved with her family as a teenager to Providence, Rhode Island, where her grandparents lived. Then as now, New England had many immigrant communities from Cabo Verde, and the teen singer performed with many bands featuring compatriots from the homeland. Later, de Barros married and moved to Los Angeles, which exposed her to a potpourri of rhythms and enriched her musical experience. There she developed a love for Latin music, and soon thereafter started singing in Spanish, one of the six languages that de Barros speaks. At the same time, de Barros continued to perform on both coasts with old and new Cape Verdean musicians. Five-time Grammy® nominee Cesaria Evora, the “barefoot diva”, helped to place the music of Cape Verde on U.S. audiences’ musical map. Evora’s ongoing encouragement led to her god-daughter fashioning her own lively and vivacious interpretation of Cape Verdean music. Together, Evora — the Queen of the Mornas — and de Barros — Queen of the Coladeiras — paint a complete musical picture of this tradition-rich land. The same great ensemble who joined de Barros on NHA MUNDO return for DANÇA MA MI, including producing team: Danny Luchansky, bassist Djim Job, and drummer Kalú Monteiro. Cabo Verde is jubilant!

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