Cesaria Evora | Celia Cruz | Mama Afrika

In Tanzania and Nigeria where I grew up, "everyone is an artist because art in Africa is not a commercial enterprise but is part of life itself." This is true of all the disciplines, sculpture, art, and music; however, unlike sculpture and art, music is immediately accessible. Whether the vocalist sings in Xhosa, Portuguese or French the listener comprehends the essence of these songs. Music is the lyre of our souls and though there are many great voices that hail from all parts of the Diaspora, for me these matriarchs of Africa have created a lasting legacy capable of transporting us from the ennui of our daily existence to the coasts of Cape Verde, the sensuality of Cuba, the heart of a South African township, or to the vaulted halls and stages of Paris, France.

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Marcia | Jihad Kahwajy

"Say You'll Be Mine" is the 2009 release by a young Cape Verdean singer named Marcia. As with much of the music produced outside of the US and European markets, artists may be hugely popular in their countries of origin, but barely register on the charts in these Western markets. This small island archipelago off the coast of West Africa has produced not one but two beautiful singers.

The first Cape Verdean singer to gain a worldwide following is the famed 'Barefoot Diva,' the name given to Cesaria Evora by the public. Her music and performances were immensely popular when she was alive, and with her recently passing, her music is sure to garner more interest. I can recall on many occasions asking people if they were familiar with Evora or her music, and the response was often 'no.'

As an ardent fan of great African vocalists, particularly those who paved the way for peaceful political and sociological change, such as (Miriam Makeba, Cesaria Evora, Nina Simone, and Celia Cruz) to name a few, it is an honor to feature stories about their lives and their work.

Unlike the Divas mentioned above, Marcia has yet to make her mark, but this video directed by Jihad Kahwajy and produced by Klasszik, it is a bright light on the horizon of the Capo Verde music landscape which has just watched the sun set on one of its most iconic vocalist.