Your E-mail (Cesária Evora)Nuno Rechena, our man on the ground in Portugal, sent in some interesting information about Cesária Evora:
Cesária Evora is a hell of a singer and her musical style, Morna, is really good. One of her most known songs is called Sodade, the crioulo equivalent of the Portuguese word "Saudade". This word is very related to both Portugal and its ex-colonies. It has no translation to the English language. Saudade is the feeling one gets when missing someone or something. This word is very associated to Portugal, because of Fado (the typical Saudade music) and because Portugal has a lot of immigrants who have “saudades do seu país” (they miss their country).
By the way, crioulo has nothing to do with French. It is a mix of Portuguese and the original African language in Cabo Verde. I totally understand the conection with Billie Holiday, she’s one of my favorites, too. and they do have similarities in their voice, though Cesária is pure Africa. If you want to hear some new sounds with some Saudade influence try listening to things like Madredeus, Amália Rodrigues or Cristina Branco. The music style is quite different from morna, but if it’s saudade you want, you’ll get it from these.