Grammy-Winning Singer Cesaria Evora Dies

Dec 17, 2011
Originally published on December 17, 2011 8:13 pm
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GUY RAZ, HOST:

Finally today, we remember the singer called the Barefoot Diva. Cesaria Evora died today in her native Cape Verde.

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RAZ: Cesaria Evora was called the Barefoot Diva because she always performed without shoes. Her style was almost impossible to classify: Brazilian, African, jazzy, bluesy. She drew comparisons to the legendary Billie Holiday. She was born in Cape Verde in 1941 and got her start singing in local taverns frequented by sailors. Her rise to international fame didn't come until later in life, the late 1980s, when Evora was in her late 40s. In 1999, in an interview with my colleague Daniel Zwerdling, Evora explained why her performances seemed so stoic. She rarely smiled on stage.

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RAZ: Cesaria Evora won her first and only Grammy in the World Music category in 2004. Last year, she stopped performing after a heart attack and a stroke. And in September, she announced her retirement. Cesaria Evora died today. She was 70 years old.

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