April 2006

Cesaria Evora | with special guests African Guitar Summit
Presented by House Of Blues Concerts
April 7, 2006Massey HallToronto
Of Music and Soul
by Amanda Martinez
“What makes our music unique is being able to tap into each other’s souls”… The words that began African Guitar Summit’s concert opening for Cesaria Evora couldn’t have been more accurate.

The seven piece band which won last year’s Juno for Best World Music album was filled with passion, each musician bringing his unique gifts to the stage to share: Alpha YaYa Diallo, Naby Camara, Pa Joe, Theo Boakye, Kofi Ackah, Adam Solomon, Mighty Popo, Madagascar Slim and Donné Roberts.

Most moving, Mighty Popo from Rwanda introduced one song by saying that 12 years ago 12 million people were slaughtered in Rwanda including his friends and family while the world stood by. He dedicated the following song as a prayer to the survivors and asked that the audience join in to celebrate life in the second half. By the end of African Guitar Summit’s set all of Massey Hall’s audience was on its feet clapping.

Cesaria Evora’s concert opened with a song featuring her band — guitar, piano, accordion, bongos, clarinet, violin, congas, drums and bass. When Evora walked on stage — she received a standing ovation. Looking unphased by the crowd she began to sing, her deep voice effortlessly filling the room. Evora was dressed in a two piece black suit, with her signature barefeet. While she barely moved from her chosen spot onstage, her lively band couldn’t hide the excitement and rhythm they felt.

Cesaria performed songs from her latest album as well as familiar songs “Lisboa” and “Saudade” that her mesmerized audience recognized immediately, clapping in appreciation.

Halfway through her concert, Evora took her familiar position — sitting on a chair facing the piano — and enjoyed her cigarette. Throughout the evening, Cesaria’s saxophonist/clarinetist would take solos by dancing up to Cesaria and inviting her to dance — however a glance from Evora said it all: she was not dancing tonight…

For a final encore, Evora sang "Besame Mucho", a version even more compelling than the one recorded on her album. Although physical movement is not a big part of Cesaria’s show, her voice is all she needs to move our souls.

We welcome your comments and feedback
Amanda Martinez
• • • • • •
The Live Music Report
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Amanda Martinez is a singer and actress, she is the host and producer of Café Latino, heard on JAZZFM91 (Saturdays 4–6 p.m. on 91.1 FM)

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