@ the Royal Festival Hall
14 November 2009
Click an image to enlarge.
Mayra Andrade first appeared on stage in Cape Verde
ten years ago after successive stays in Senegal, Angola and Germany.
The Cuban-born teenager sang at a charity event organised by the
French Cultural Centre in Praia, accompanied only by a guitar and
flute. She was only fifteen, but her assurance (acquired in numerous
minor family and school performances) was already impressive. The
following year, she visited Canada and was awarded the gold medal
for song at the Jeux de la Francophonie, a measure of her precocious
talent (Mayra Andrade began to speak French when she was six). She
was already well-known as a budding star of Cape Verdean song when
she arrived in Paris in 2003 and began to perform at one world-music
venue after another with a group of two guitars, bass and percussion.
Word spread of the young singer and her mellow, fresh, slightly
husky voice, whose presence on stage left its mark on anyone lucky
enough to see her perform.
Her first album, “Navega”, came as a revelation in
2006. The general public was thrilled to discover her remarkable
voice and her new take on Cape Verde’s musical diversity.
Mayra Andrade’s work was a modern reinterpretation, rooted
in the rich soil of the archipelago’s traditions, but also
open to influences discovered on her travels. Following the public
and critical success of “Navega”, her second record,
“Stória, stória… “, released in
2009, further explored that interplay between the rhythmic heritages
of Cape Verde and its transatlantic cousins, Brazil and Cuba. It
was an ode to Creolity, enhanced by sophisticated orchestrations
and reflecting the musically-multicoloured singer’s thirst
for new horizons.
Like her music, lilting and meandering, Mayra Andrade’s approach
to her career is anything but linear. It was her need to take on
new challenges that led the singer to make “Studio 105”,
which heralds a new stage in her work, which increasingly defies