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A Miniature Cuba

A sexy pro
photo: Deborah Metsch

Until now, the musical collision of Lusophone and African diasporas called Cape Verde has been defined by Cesaria Evora's massive morna flowing wide and deep over any rhythm it encounters. But Lura, once Evora's opening act, reveals a more variegated Cape Verde on her first North American release. Lura can flow above acoustic guitar-backed Crioulo samba, but she can also punch out ass-shaking batuka and everything in between. Her musical Cape Verde is a miniature Cuba, absorbing and inventing genres.

Evora was discovered in Cape Verde; Lura discovered Cape Verde growing up in Lisbon. A one-time backup dancer for a Portuguese singer, and then a rising star of Paris-centered Afropop, Lura brings studio and stage savvy to her translation of her ancestral homeland. You don't have to read the English versions of the lyrics to sense the shifting subject matter of this beautifully paced and produced pop record. Performing at Joe's Pub in January and S.O.B.'s in February, Lura proved a sexy, engaging, good-humored pro, just like on the DVD packaged with the CD—a young, African-Portuguese, Lisboan-Parisian Gladys Knight. All that's missing is the large, enthusiastic audience she's ready for, and deserves.


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