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Wed, 08.27.1941

Cesária Évora, a Black Portuguese Diva

Cesaria Evora

*Cesária Évora was born on this date in1941. She was a Black Portuguese singer and entertainer.

From Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde, when Evora was seven her father died, and at age ten she was placed in an orphanage because her mother could not raise all six children. At age 16, a friend persuaded her to sing in a sailors' tavern. In the 1960s she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio.  In 1985, she was invited by Cape Verdean singer Bana to perform in Portugal.  In Lisbon she was discovered by the musician José da Silva and invited to record in Paris.

Évora's international success began in 1988 with the release of her first album La Diva Aux Pieds Nus recorded in France. Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide. Her 1995 album Cesária brought her broader international success and the first Grammy Award nomination. In 1997 she won KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: Best Artist of West Africa, Best Album and Merit of the Jury.  In 2003 her album Voz d'Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World music category.  May 8, 2010, in Lisbon was Evora’s last concert.

On May 10, after a heart attack, she was operated on at a hospital in Paris. On May 16, was discharged from the Intensive Unit and transported to a clinic for further treatment.  In 2011, Evora's agent announced that she had ended her singing career due to poor health.  On December 17, 2011, Cesária Évora died in São Vicente, in her native Cape Verde, from cardio respiratory insufficiency and hypertension.

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