Cesária Évora: Things You Didn’t Know About The ‘Barefoot Diva’

Cape Verdean singer remembered in a Google Doodle on what would have been her 78th birthday. The Cape Verdean singer who became known as the “Barefoot Diva”, is being remembered in a special Google Doodle on what would have been her 78th birthday.

Born on 27 August 1941, Évora took up singing as a girl, and as an adult began her career by performing at bars in her hometown of Mindelo.

After several years of singing without financial success, she was eventually spotted by former musician and record producer José da Silva, who urged her to record her music in France.

Évora, who died on 17 December 2011, eventually ascended to worldwide fame over the course of a two-decade, Grammy-winning career as a recording artist.

1. She wasn’t called the “Queen of Morna” by accident

Genre-wise, Évora specialised in morna, the traditional music style of Cape Verde. Her songs typically had melancholic, poetic undertones.

One of her most famous songs is a recording of the coladeira song “Sodade”, which encapsulates the nostalgia of emigrants from Cape Verde. Évora included the song, which dates back to the Fifties, in her 1992 album Miss Perfumado.

2. She had humble beginnings

After the death of her father, a musician, when she was seven, Évora was placed in an orphanage.

While she built a reputation as a singer early on in her life, Évora temporarily gave up on music in the Seventies due to financial issues.

She returned to it in the Eighties and released her first album, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus, in 1988.

3. Évora built a stunning career

After she got her start in 1988, Évora released new albums every two years or so over the course of 21 years.

Her final album, Nha Sentimento​, came out in 2009, two years before her death.

In 2004, her album Voz d’Amor won Best Contemporary World Music Album at the Grammys, following up on her first nomination for the 1995 Cesária.

Cesária Évora performs during the second day of the Nice Jazz Festival on 20 July 2006 in the Gardens Cimiez in Nice. (VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

4. She was known as the “Barefoot Diva”

Évora performed shoeless onstage, which some interpreted as a sign of solidarity with the poor.

The singer, however, disputed this theory, telling The Washington Post in 2001: ”People used to say that I did that in solidarity with the hungry people and all the poor people of the world, but that’s not true.

“In Cape Verde, lots of people are like me. They just don’t like to wear shoes.”

5. She contributed to the fight against world hunger

Évora was an ambassador for the United Nations’ World Food Programme, a humanitarian food-assistance initiative that delivers food in emergency situations and works to improve nutrition in communities around the world.


Omotimehin Nelson is a Nigerian award-winning content writer. He derives passion for creative writing. Join me

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