Saturday, April 12, 2008

Concert: Mayra Andrade

Mayra Andrade Live De Roma Antwerp BBC World Music Award Best Newcomer Cape Verde Morna Batuque Jazz Acoustic World Music
Mayra Andrade at De Roma, Antwerp (April 4th 2008)
Click pictures for full size.

You might remember the beautiful music of Mayra Andrade from this post by El Guiri back in 2007. Last week both El Guiri and myself had the opportunity to see her live, which we couldn't let pass of course. The Cape Verdean beauty is nominated for won the BBC World Music Award for Best Newcomer this year, and after a previous concert experience we were anxious to hear new material.

The setting - an old cinema transformed to cosy jazz club with tables and candles - fit the music very well: her acoustic mix of typical Cape Verdean rhythms (morna, batuque), the multicultural eclecticism of Paris, and Afro-Brazilian elements is best enjoyed leaning back and sipping a glass of quality wine. Though a little more enthusiasm from the audience, consisting mainly of bald fifty-somethings, would have been welcome.

We were sold from the first note, impressed by Mayra's enchanting voice and - let's be honest - stunning beauty. Opening track "Dimokransa" might be a harsh sketch of the failure of democracy and its ideals, she presented it like a soft sea breeze on a sunny day in Cape Verde. Next was the sparkling "Nha Sibitchi", one of the best songs off her 2006 debut Navega. And a little later she charmed the whole audience with the story behind "Comme S'il En Pleuvait", about an old beggar she passed on her way to school every day, who told her about how she used to get everything she wanted, comme s'il en pleuvait (as if it fell from the sky).

Her voice was notably rougher than on Navega, which gave the songs a little more soul. Mayra's sound of voice is something between that of a strong jazz diva and a small girl-with-guitar, sometimes sultry and powerful, sometimes of a melancholic beauty. On "Destina Maior: Amar" (originally by jazz saxophonist Carlos Martins, but perfectly adapted for two guitars tonight) she showed her vocal skills again by improvising like a true muse.

Mayra Andrade Live De Roma Antwerp BBC World Music Award Best Newcomer Cape Verde Morna Batuque Jazz Acoustic World Music
Also a special mention for her Brazilian percussionist Ze Luis Nascimento, who managed to create spectacular sounds out of his impressive drum kit, consisting among others of some kind of amphora, shells, keys, and even his seat (a flamenco instrument called cajón). The two guitarists are also clearly professionals, and their small guitars (cavaquinhos) can recall an illusion of summer sun and sea salt like no other instruments.

Sadly the only new song, "Kem Ki Ben Ki Ta Bai" didn't leave a big impression. "Regassu" - her ode to morna - and "Lua" were the bis songs, but afterwards Mayra returned one more time for a majestic a capella performance (we think it was a cover of that other Cape Verdean legend, Cesaria Evora). We left the venue with goosebumps, a worthy ending for a fantastic show.

Mayra Andrade Live De Roma Antwerp BBC World Music Award Best Newcomer Cape Verde Morna Batuque Jazz Acoustic World Music
Check Mayra's website for upcoming tour dates, this summer she's crossing the ocean for performances in New York, Chicago and Montreal. If you can't make it for the unforgettable live experience, have a look at this video for a nice impression. I didn't manage to find live audio, but I'm sure the two gems off Navega below will manage to fill that void!

(PS: Read our full review in Dutch over at Tropicalidad!)

Mayra Andrade - Navega mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon
Mayra Andrade - Comme S'il En Pleuvait mp3 buy@iTunes (Europe only) buy@Amazon


KelanZulu-Productions said...

This is just a share!
Lavon of Sol Cyrans Innernational majordomo for Kelan Zulu…
I want to share someone with you who laid the foundation for Spiritual Jazz in Chicago Kelan PHil Cohran..check him on youtube…and his son’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (their video for WAR).

When the music changes, so does the dance

~ African proverb

Who is Phil Cohran
Link to On the Beach,,1561649,00.html
Phil Cohran performing A Negro Speaks of Rivers ( by L.Hughes)

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