Her latest is Kachupada, named after a favourite West
African stew that blends a variety of ingredients.
From batuke to modern jazz, gospel to Creole, you bring a
tremendous amount of influences to your music. Can you describe how you
distill these influences?
They are so natural that I don't really think too much about them,
it's almost as if it was other native languages that I speak. Music is
about communication, and you express yourself in the language that is
familiar to you. So when I'm composing I just express whatever comes
from the inspired moment and then I play with these ideas together with
the lyric and the message that I want to send out. And that's how music
Tell us about working with Theo Pas'çal over the years. What is the collaboration process?
It's been tremendous working with someone that has so much knowledge,
because in the end you are not only learning about just music, you are
learning lessons of life and that will endure forever. When we first
started working together, I was only 17 years old and he was already an
established musician with solo albums and a real innovator in the music
and the groups that he produced in Portugal. It has been 12 years
already; [they've been] full of challenges, a lot of growing up,
maturity of our own sound together as composers. In all our productions
there is never a pre-production; what we feel in the moment, the energy
and inspiration and the spontaneous note is what we capture.
We are now working on a different project that involves me more in a
instrumentalist point of view. The voice is still there, and I will
continue to explore my natural instrument but right now I'm searching to
find my voice as a pianist as well ... so we are developing a project
where we gather several influences from Cape Verde to Portugal, North
Africa and the Lusophone countries. It's almost like the history of our
origin, which is Portuguese ... the places that Portugal discovered, the
images and the feelings that they had finding other worlds. It's almost
like bringing the whole world together in the music. I'm very excited
For someone new to the music of Cape Verde, what three albums would you suggest for a quick education?
I would definitely recommend Tubaroes, Voz de Cabo Verde and Cesaria Evora.
Tubaroes were one of the most popular bands in Cape Verde, the great
Ildo Lobo was their vocalist and guitar player. From the '70s to the
'90s they were a cult band touring around the world.
Voz de Cabo Verde — at some point they had a very political message
and they joined the independence movement singing songs about Amilcar
And Cesaria there is no [introduction] needed for her, she was just great.