by Carmen Souza


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It's tempting to compare any female Cape Verdean singer to the godmother of the island's indigenous morna music, Cesaria Evora, but that would be unfair to a vocalist as gifted, and as singular, as Carmen Souza. For starters, although she is of Cape Verdean heritage, Souza was born in Lisbon and now resides in London. Her music, while incorporating traditional Cape Verdean elements, nods equally, if not more, to American jazz, Afro-Latin rhythms, European and Arabic melodic influences, and more. Singing in a Portuguese-based Creole, Souza -- whose longtime collaborator, producer/co-writer/chief instrumentalist Theo Pas'cal is again along for the ride on this third album by the songstress -- expands her internationalist approach by inviting musicians from numerous countries to add their colorings to the mix, the result being a hybrid that owes to all and none of its components at any given time. Souza's voice is a remarkably lithe instrument, sensual, percussive, soulful, and capable of exploring multiple moods within a given line of a given track. On "Tentê Midj," which compares life to a delectable sauce that must constantly be stirred, Souza flits from kitten-like coyness to tigress tough, traversing octaves and toying with the musicians (particularly accordionist João Frade) like a piece of yarn. Pas'cal's bass work throughout the album drives the rhythms that Souza easily rides atop, finding unexpected nuances where others might resort to the rote. On "Afri Ká," a land alternately described as joy, a red sunset, paradise, and saborsabi, Souza's own joy is palpable as she glides and swings her way through its funky dance beat and festive melody. Sometimes simplicity trumps the more complex arrangements, offering another side of the Souza-Pas'cal team: "Mara Marga," the album's closing piece, is an elegiac ballad that utilizes double bass, acoustic piano, oud and voice to state its case, and the title track (which translates to "Protected") likewise keeps the instrumentation sparse but serves up an intoxicatingly rhythmic feast. One sure highlight is Souza's cover of Horace Silver's signature tune "Song for My Father." Silver, an American jazzman of Cape Verdean extraction, is an inspiration to Souza, who plays the Fender Rhodes on her interpretation, as well as supplying the vocal. Here Souza deliberately departs from the song's familiar theme, yet another indication that she is her own woman, inspired by many but indebted to none.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/08/2010
Label: Galileo Music
UPC: 4250095800368
catalogNumber: 36
Rank: 285419

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Carmen Souza   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Hand Clapping,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Rick Lazar   Triangle,Pandeiro,Shaker,Brushes
Omar Sosa   Piano,fender rhodes
Zé Maria   Alto Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Adel Salameh   Oud
Marc Berthoumieux   Accordion
Tiago Santos   Guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Theo Pas'cal   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Steel Guitar,Triangle,Background Vocals,Double Bass,Cajon,Hand Clapping,Shaker,Acoustic Bass,Metal Percussion
Naziha Azzouz   Vocals
Luis Cunha   Trombone,Euphonium
Victor Zamora   Piano
Pedro Segundo   Percussion
Jonathan Idiagbonya   Piano
Dado Pasqualini   Percussion
Cláudio César Lima Ribeiro   Soloist,Guitar (Nylon String)
Lars Arens   Trombone,Euphonium
Johannes Krieger   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
João Frade   Accordion
Sebastian Sheriff   Bongos,Conga,Timbales,Vibraslap,Bata,Cajon,Shaker,cowbell
Miguel Conçalves   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Zoe Pas'cal   Percussion,Vocals

Technical Credits

Horace Silver   Composer
Derek Andrews   Management
Amandio Cabral   Composer
Steve Lowe   Engineer
Gerhard Kubik   Liner Notes
José Melo   Booking
Luis Morais   Composer
Carmen Souza   Arranger,Composer,Producer
Theo Pas'cal   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Engineer,Wood
Victor Zamora   Arranger
Domingos Morais   Liner Notes
André Loureiro   Graphic Design
Juan Carlos Mesquita   Engineer
Ricardo Guerreiro   Engineer
Patrícia Pas'cal   Executive Producer,Management

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