On December 17, 2011, at the age of 70, the Cape Verdean Music icon Cesaria Evora passed away in her hometown, Mindelo, Cape Verde. The official cause of her death was cardio-respiratory failure and hypertension.
Her death is a major loss for the international music community.
As a Grammy winner in 2003, Cesaria represented our tiny homeland (the archipelago of Cape Verde), as an effective cultural ambassador. She primarily sang Morna and Coladeira – traditional Cape-Verdean music styles throughout the world. Cape Verde became very well known because of the power of her vibrant voice.
She started her singing career when she was a teenager and appeared in many local bars and clubs. At one point she was almost forgotten but in her late 40’s she was re-discovered and became a major star when she landed a recording deal in Europe and became an international star.
Cize (her nickname) was a friend. I first met her when I was twenty years old in 1985 when I attended an educational conference in Mindelo. At the local Piano bar, she sang to the group, laughed with us and told some of her jokes.
The last time Cesaria and I got together was approximately 9 years ago when she performed at the Montreal Jazz festival. After her performance, we got together for a reunion; we laughed and had a photo session. Cize was a good friend and a genuine person. It was always fun to be around her. Cape Verde and the world lost an icon that will be forever remembered.