Elida Almeida / Cape Verde
Cape Verde Islands have brought us – it appears – another jewel. A young and highly promising vocalist, who might soon match the most outstanding artists born in the country that gave us the great Cesária Évora.
The artist had her phonographic debut a little more than a year ago with her record titled Ora doci Ora margos (Sweet Times, Bitter Times), released by the renowned Lusafrica label. Elida Almeida overcomes her childhood trauma, offering us a record that abounds with captivating melodies to the accompaniment which is modern, though rooted in tradition. She sings her songs with her characteristic, warm, youthful voice.
Almeida was born in 1993 in the town of Pedra Badejo in Santa Cruz district. She spent her childhood with her grandparents in a village. After her father’s death she moved to the island Maio together with her mother. She helped her mother: she was a street seller, but at the same time she learned singing at a local church, She is said to have written her first song when still in high school. Her talent was soon noticed and appreciated.
The artist offers music drawing from the classical rhythms and genres born in the Cape Verde Islands. We can hear the rhythms of batuque, funaná and morna. Her vocals are discreetly supported by the subtle arrangement of Hermanio Almeida’s guitar. Alex Flores – accordion, Diego Gomez – piano, Miguel Gomez – conga, and Djessa and Samuel Cruz – cavaquinho (a small chordophone similar to ukulele) perfectly supplement the whole recording. Ora doci Ora margos reflects the hopes and the dreams of young residents of the Cape Verde Islands who want to escape their isolation and to become citizens of the world.
The dynamic, swinging style of the young vocalist markedly differs from what we remember of Cesária Évora , but is equally appealing. It also carries a sincere message, conveyed by the charming and emotional voice of the artist who now takes the first steps on stage facing a wider audience.
photo.: Lawson Daku
The concert took place in 2017.