Published On: Tue, Aug 27th, 2019

Who is singer Cesária Évora – Google Doodle honours ‘Barefoot Diva’ | World | News

Cesária Évora has been honoured by Google in their daily doodle, on what would have been her 78th birthday. She was known as the “Barefoot Diva” and “Queen of Morna”, and to close friends “Cise”. She was born in Mindelo, Cape Verde and died on December 17, 2011 in Sao Vicente, Cape Verde.

Who is Cesária Évora?

Cesária is a famous Cape Verdean singer, beginning her career in the 1960s, first performing on Portuguese cruise ships and on local radio, before being noticed by a producer.

She was born to parents Justino da Cruz and mother Dona Joana.

Cesária had a difficult start to life, with her father – a part-time musician – dying when she was just seven years old.

She was placed in an orphanage at the age of 10, as her mother could not cope with six children.

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When she was 16, she was persuaded by a friend to sing in a sailors tavern.

Cesária grew up at a famous house in Mindelo which housed famous singers from the 1940s to the 1970s.

She was invited by Cape Verdean singer Bana to perform in Portugal, and once there was discovered by producer Jose da Silva and invited to record in Paris.

There, she recorded the single Ausência which was released as the second track of the soundtrack of the film Underground (1995).

Her first album, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, found her international success when it was released in 1988.

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Her 1992 album Miss Perfumedo sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide and included one of her most famous songs – Sodade.

The album which found her yet more international recognition was her 1995 self titled album Cesária – also gaining her a Grammy Award nomination.

She won the KORA All African Music Awards in three categories: “Best Artist of West Africa”, “Best Album” and “Merit of the Jury” in 1997.

Her 2003 album Voz d’Amor was awarded a Grammy in the World Music category, and her 2006 release Rogamar charted in six European countries.

During a tour in Australia in 2008, Cesária suffered a stroke, but went on to release her final album Nha Sentimento in 2009, reaching number six in Poland and number 21 in France.

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In 2009, she was made a knightess of the French Legion of Honour by the French French Minister of Culture and Communications Christine Albanel, and in 2010 she was awarded “Merit of the Jury” at the Kora All African Music Awards for the second time.

Her nickname “Barefoot Diva” came as she often performed without shoes.

She performed a number of concerts in May 2010, and two days after her last one in Lisbon she suffered a heart attack and underwent surgery in Paris.

Later in September 2011, her agent announced Cesária would be retiring due to ill health.

She died aged 70, on December 17, 2011, from respiratory failure and hypertension.

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