Just two years ago, Elida Almeida burst onto the world scene with her debut album Ora doci Ora margos (Sweet Times Bitter Times), claiming her place as the new voice of Cabo Verde.
That album had a serious message for listeners, alongside the melodies and beats of Santiago - the island where Almeida spent part of her childhood - and it gained the singer a large international following. (See: http://www.ipsnews.net/2015/06/cape-verdes-newest-voice-sends-message-to-girls/)
Since then, Almeida has been touring and heightening her profile. She has performed in Europe, Africa and North America, where members of the Cabo Verdean Diaspora and other fans have welcomed her in clubs and at music festivals.
Now comes Kebrada, her second album, released Oct. 20.
Named for the village where she grew up, Kebrada asserts Almeida’s African identity. She seasons her Cabo Verdean beats - batuque, funaná, coladera and tabanka - with Latino rhythms, for that traditional musical journey: Africa to the Americas and back.
Almeida has written most of the lyrics and music, with arrangements by guitarist Hernani Almeida, and the album is catchy from the first song “Djam Odja”. As with the best music from Cabo Verde, the themes of joy and sadness intermingle, and the “danceable” tracks don’t undermine the album’s social criticism.
On “Forti Dor”, Almeida tells the story of young man who dies after falling in with a bad crowd, and this ballad is at the heart of the compilation, captivating listeners with the warm, rich voice.
Kebrada is a worthy follow-up to Ora Doci and shows an increased maturity and confidence. With Almeida being only 24 years old, listeners can look forward to a future of great songs from this talented Cabo Verdean artist.
Label: Lusafrica. Produced by José da Silva. Photo by N'Krumah Lawson Daku.
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