Ceuzany: Ilha d’Melodia

March 14, 2017

Bridge to Distant Islands

Listening Post 90. We think of islands as isolated places, but Cape Verde, the archipelago off Africa’s west coast, has enough tourists and more than enough expatriates to ensure constant traffic and ample opportunity for its prodigiously talented musicians to reach across the waters. One of the country’s rising stars is Ceuzany Pires, whose second solo album is an exploration of home, family, strong women, migration, music and love—expressed in traditional Cape Verdean morna and coladeira, seasoned with folk, rock and hip-hop. In Fera na Sukupira (Sukupira Market), she wanders through a local bazaar, describing the color and bustle, the push and pull of bargain hunters, empty pockets and vendors who fail to sell (video 1). The album title refers to São Vicente, Ceuzany’s home island, and Mindel d’Novas (Return to Mindelo) to it’s main city: “O Mindelo of poetry, of hospitality, island of melody,” she sings passionately in Cape Verdean Creole, evoking the memory of another daughter of São Vicente, the great Cesária Évora (video 2). In Cabo Verde la Fora (Taking Cape Verde Abroad)—a duet with rapper Kiddy Bonz that incorporates a hip-hop verse into a gentler melodic scheme—Ceuzany pays tribute to the musicians who show the world that “we are poor but our culture is strong” (video 3). The thematic portrait is rounded out by the frenzy of Tolobaska (Love Crazy); the fishermen, laborers and teachers who carry society in Labanta Bu Bai (Get Up and Go); and Mai di Migrasom (Mother of Migration), about the ocean that symbolizes separation and connection. In the same way, Ceuzany’s warm and vibrant voice is a bridge to distant islands, reaching across the sea to bring alluring melodies to our willing ears. (Lusafrica/Harmonia)






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