Over Mayra Andrade
Every few years, Cape Verde produces a singer-songwriter who seduces world music audiences, and starting in 2006, Mayra Andrade became the latest "it" girl. But to call Andrade a fad would be to belittle her accomplishments. The singer was born in Cuba, but she lived the peripatetic life of many Cape Verdeans, moving between Senegal, Germany, Angola and Cape Verde. She grew up immersed in Brazilian music -- she says Caetano Veloso's "O Leaozinho" was the first song she learned to sing -- but when she returned to Cape Verde as a teenager, she began to learn more about traditional music that had been suppressed by colonial rulers, thanks in part to the late composer Orlando Pantera, who was pioneering neo-batuku at the time. After winning a Canadian singing competition at the age of 16, Andrade moved to Paris and began to study music in earnest. After several cameos (including a duet with Charles Aznavour), she recorded her bossa nova and jazz-infused debut with an international slew of Paris-based session musicians. The 2006 release Navega (released in 2008 in the U.S.) took world music by storm, earning Andrade a BBC Radio 3 award for Best Newcomer in 2008.