December 18, 2011 by staff
Cesaria Evora, The legendary Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora, who won international acclaim with her sultry voice and ballads of lost love, died on Saturday in a hospital on her native island of Sao Vicente at the age of 70, three months after retiring due to ill health, reported Agence France-Presse.
In September, her record label Lusafrica said Evora had decided to end her career due to health problems.
“I have no strength, no energy. I want to say to my fans: forgive me, but now I need to rest,” Evora told French newspaper Le Monde three months ago.
Evora has sung the blues-influenced “saudade” of her native Cape Verde since a young age, but came to world fame late in life in 1992 after three decades spent performing in the bars of Mindello, Sao Vicente. In all, she has produced 10 studio albums and an anthology of historic radio recordings while touring far from her Atlantic island home.
Her voice was compared to that of US great Billie Holiday. In 2004, her album Voz d’Amor won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album and stars such as Madonna, David Byrne and Brandford Marsalis descended on her New York concert.
Cape Verde immediately announced a two-day national mourning period and heaped tributes on the singer for putting the tiny Atlantic archipelago nation on the world map. President Jorge Carlos Fonseca said Evora was “one of the major cultural references of Cape Verde”, while the prime minister Jose Maria Neves hailed her “invaluable contribution to the greatness of our nation and our pride”.
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