Cape Verde’s Great Singer, Cesaria Evora, Had Open Heart Surgery

Cesaria Evora, the world’s most famous singer from Africa’s Cape Verde, had open heart surgery last night (Monday, May 10, 2010) in a Paris hospital. The surgery was in response to a coronary problem that occurred this past weekend. She was admitted to the hospital Monday morning and the surgery, which started at 8:00 p.m., concluded early this morning at 2:00 a.m. The operating surgeon reported that things went as well as possible. Cesaria was then admitted into intensive care where she awoke around 11.00 this morning. Cesaria is suspending all activities until the end of the year. As a result, June 2010 concerts in Washington, DC, New York City, Boston, Toronto, and Montreal have been cancelled.

This week’s surgery follows an amazing return by Cesaria following a stroke in April 2008. Summer 2010 was meant to mark a return to North American stages. Three months after the stroke, she was ready to start rehearsing and working on her new album, Nha Sentimento (Lusafrica). “She hates rehearsing,” said producer and manager José da Silva in an interview earlier this month. “But she had a strong will to return to singing. The stroke made it harder for her to remember the words of new songs. She worked harder on this album than any other we have made,” says da Silva, who is staying at Cesaria’s side in the hospital. Music critics noticed that Cesaria’s voice had changed on the new album, yet she retained the essence of who she is. “I think the stroke scared her and she is now open to doing more things,” da Silva said before this week’s heart surgery.

Nha Sentimento explores the Middle Eastern and Arab influences of Cape Verdean music and culture, territory rarely explored before. The album features collaborator and admirer Fathy Salama, a former conductor of the Cairo Orchestra known for his work with Youssou N’Dour, and who arranged three mornas on Cesaria’s new album. Nha Sentimento will be re-released shortly featuring a bonus track of “Moda Bo,” Cesaria’s duet with Cape Verde’s up-and-coming singer and starlet, Lura, considered by some to be Cesaria’s heir apparent. The duet’s live debut was to take place during the June North American tour, for which Lura was set to be the opening act.

Meanwhile, the world waits and hopes for a speedy and full recovery of Cape Verde’s leading heroine of song, Cesaria Evora.

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