While Cape Verde, the remote archipelago some 300 miles off the coast of Senegal, is sadly bereft of natural resources, its wealth in talent makes it a world music powerhouse. Carmen Souza is an incandescent female singer of Cape Verdean ancestry, a jazz-tinged chanteuse with a cool, smoky sound. Born and raised in Lisbon and now based in London, Souza grew up speaking both Portuguese and Cape Verdean Creole. Immersing herself in the traditional rhythms of West Africa and Cape Verde, she honed a highly personal sound combining traditional rhythms and song forms with jazz and Brazilian influences. Her 2005 debut album Ess ê nha Cabo Verde catapulted her into the top ranks of rising Cape Verdean stars such as Lura, Sara Tavares, Mayra Andrade and Maria Alice. Her second release, Verdade (Truth), confirmed Souza’s status as a major new talent, and last year’s Protegid (Protected) made her a true world music force, with a sound illuminating the far-flung musical currents that germinate in Cape Verde’s impoverished soil.
Carmen Souza vocals, guitar
Jonathan Idiagbonya piano
Theo Pas'cal bass
Mauricio Zottarelli drums, percussion