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World Music CD Reviews Europe

MARIA DE BARROS

By Paul-Emile Comeau
Published September 27, 2005

Dança Ma Mi (Dance With Me)
Narada

Maria de Barros not only made quite an impact last year with her debut, Nha Mundo, but the singer’s live appearances confirmed that she can deliver the same impassioned musical excitement in person. While that album was mostly a tribute to her native Cabo Verde, the follow-up, which features the same wonderful band, is devoted mostly to songs of romance. The fact that her label publicizes the fact that she’s Cesaria Evora’s goddaughter isn’t a ploy to promote De Barros as the next big thing in Cape Verdean music. Her music does exude all the qualities of a star performance and she just may become the most important Cape Verdean artist in years, in spite of being a non-resident. (She moved with her family to the United States as a teenager). The music draws from coladeiras, a salsa-like form of music, and mornas, a bluesy style that has its origins in old Portuguese fados, as well as from funana, a less familiar rhythm derived from African rhythms. The combination of voice, songs, melodies, rhythms, and band makes for an exhilarating blend.