Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Césaria Évora: Cabo Verde [Nonesuch, 1997]
I was struck by the English title of "Mar e morada de sodade": "The Sea Is the Home of Nostalgia." Usually "saudade," the equivalent of "soul" in Evora's morna style, is rendered "sadness" or "longing," terms that disguise the self-pity beneath its dignity--a self-pity that's easier to take out in the open. Rather more than on her renowned U.S. debut, that self-pity is swallowed up in the somewhat swifter flow of the grooves, a speed achieved at no loss of her fundamental fluidity. And I note that the two drop-dead melodies, both taken medium-fast and one featuring an utterly easeful James Carter, counsel confidently against despair and complacency. A-