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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

Candida Rose

By Stacy Meyn

KabuMerikana: The Sum of Me
Golden Rose Music

A peek at the CD cover and you’d think you’ve got a Cape Verdean chanteuse smiling broadly at you from under her umbrella. You’d be half right “Candida Rose” Hemsley hails from the Cape Verdean stronghold of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and she can wrench your heartstrings along with the best from the little island that can. KabuMerikana opens with “Kabu Verdi, Un Dia,” which gently moves along and sets a joyful, tropical tone for the rest of the album. Candida Rose honed her skills in New England gospel and jazz groups, and describes her 10-song debut as “KabuJazz,” ably flexing her lush pipes on Cape Verdean classics like “Amor Di Mai (A Mother’s Love)” and “Sodade,” as well as the jazz standards “Afro Blue” and “That’s All (E’ So).” Cape Verdean artists Carlos “Kalu” Monteiro and Djim Job guest, as do noted jazz saxophonist Javon Jackson and bassist/guitarist Santi Debriano, while poet Everett Hoagland pens the spoken word “Sum of Me (Un Poku di Tude)” for the album’s contemplative closing track.