An audience of more than 2000 people
gave a rousing applause of welcome for the barefoot Diva. Dressed in black
and smiling broadly, her effect on the crowd was immediate and riveting
- a fitting event to herald the start of the festival's 75th anniversary.
It would have been impossible to dream up any international popular singer
better qualified to pay tribute to the abolition of slavery. Arriving
straight from Cap Vert, the black sky was aglow with Cesaria's dazzling
"Césaria Evora, your songs are inspired
by Cap Vert's own folk repertoire. What part does tradition play in this
tiny African country you come from?"
"Tradition is very much alive in Cap Vert, and is nurtured by our artists.
Although the large majority of our national stars live abroad, they carry
on singing in Créole, and every year we have a Créole festival which is
similar in style to the Festival de Cornouaille. It has been going for
15 years now, and is beinning to get quite large."
"In what language
do you yourself sing?"
"Most of my songs are in Portugese, which
is Cap Vert's official language. In my next album there are also two duets
in Spanish with Night Ken Hool. And I have also recorded some duets with
"So you are in favour of this type
of cultural cross-fertilisation that we cultivate for the Festival de
Yes, I love this mixture of music from all over the world. The Festival
de Cornouailles could also provide me with the opportunity to meet other
artists from this area, but unfortunately I have to leave again tomorrow.
I've got a full agenda until the end of December. I've just got back from
a Libyan tour, and an appearance in Portugal at the universal Exhibition.
Next stop is Italy. So I never manage to stay in Cap Vert for very long.
I dream about being able to spend six months there."
"Could you tell us a bit about your
"It is a magnificent country, with beautiful beaches and wonderful sea
food. But what Cap Vert means most for me is the warmth and hospitality
of its people. My door is always wide open. If you come to Cap Vert, I
will cook for you. I love to put on my apron, and get cooking. And even
though I don't drink myself, there is always a bottle of cognac ready
for visitors! Apart from all that, my country has a broad spectrum as
far as population is concerned: there are blond people with blue eyes,
black people, and people with mixed racial backgrounds. That's what gives
Cap Vert its cultural richness."
"Césaria Evora, you are a woman with
plenty of joie de vivre. And yet your songs are portrayals of sadness.
This seems paradoxical!"
"It's true that I sing melancholy slow songs, but that isn't necessarily
the same thing as sadness. It's the "morna", which is a genre of song
traditional to Cap Vert. It is close in style to the blues which are,
of course, songs of rebellion."
"You are often referred to as the
Barefoot Diva. Where does the habit of singing on stage barefoot come
"Oh, it's not an image I try to cultivate for myself! It's just part of
my nature. In Cap Vert, I never wear shoes. But in France, the ground
is so cold....!"
Hoel LOUARN and Solène PENHOAT
de Cesaria EVORA
EVORA on stage...