HAIL CESÁRIA! Google Doodle today: World-renowned Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora is honoured on her 78th birthday
CAPE Verdean Grammy-winning singer Cesária Évora is being remembered in a special Google Doodle on what would have been her 78th birthday.
Here’s everything you need to know about the world renowned vocalist, including how she became known as the “barefoot diva.”
Who was Cesária Évora?
Cesária was born on August 27, 1941, in Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde.
When she was just 10 years old her father died and she was placed into an orphanage – Cesária had five other siblings but her mum couldn’t raise the brood of six alone.
She had a musical childhood, and is rumoured to have grown up in an infamous house in Cape Verde that produced several other famous singers who either trained or performed there, including Djô d’Eloy, Bana, Eddy Moreno, Luis Morais and Manuel de Novas.
This is where she received her musical education.
Cesária died in 2011 after an illustrious career spanning two decades.
What songs is Cesária Évora known for?
In the sixties, Cesária began singing on Portuguese cruise ships and local radio, but her career struggled to take off and she made little money off her voice.
She specialised in morna, the traditional music style of Cape Verde with melancholic, poetic undertones.
It was not until Cesária was spotted performing in Portugal in 1985 by the producer José da Silva that her career really took off.
International success came to the singer in 1988 with the release of her first commercial album, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, recorded in France.
Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide and included one of her most celebrated songs, Sodade.
What does her Google Doodle show?
The singer is shown against a backdrop of a coastal town.
It shows the colourful buildings similar to the port of Mindelo, where Cesária was born.
Mountains loom above the seafront and boats are seen bobbing on the water.
Why else is she well known?
Besides being a Grammy-winning artist, she was also made a knightess of the French Legion of Honour by the French Minister of Culture and Communications Christine Albanel, and was presented – twice – with the Merit of the Jury at the Kora All African Music Awards.
The philanthropic singer was also an ambassador for the United Nations’ World Food Programme and was well known for her humanitarian ways.
Her habit of performing without footwear onstage lead to the nickname “barefoot diva,” with some fans speculating that her shoe-less performances were a sign of solidarity with the poor.
However, in a radio interview in 2001 she confirmed that she simply wasn’t that keen on shoes.
“People used to say that I did that in solidarity with the hungry people and all the poor people of the world, but that’s not true,” she said.
“In Cape Verde, lots of people are like me.
“They just don’t like to wear shoes.”