Listening to NPR one day, Sara Tavares’ beautiful voice and arresting melodies came wafting through the speakers. I knew, at once, that I would buy her music, even though I couldn’t understand most of what she was singing. Her music is mostly in Portuguese and Criolo (both of which I don’t speak), with traces of English.
Tavares was born in Lisbon, Portugal, of second generation Cape Verdean parents. She fully embraces both her African and European heritages, reflecting them in her music. When Tavares was young, her parents separated from each other and moved from Lisbon in search of greener pastures, leaving her behind. An older Portguese woman raised her.
Sara Tavares went on to show much promise in her musical talents, winning a Portuguese TV singing contest in 1994 when she was just 16. Her winning single,Chamar a Música , was included in her first album, Sara Tavares & Shout (1996). Tavares took a few years off after that to reconnect with her African roots. The result was her second album, Mi Ma Bô, produced in 1999. This and subsequent albums (Balancê 2006, Alive! in Lisboa 2008, and Xinti 2009) deliver a combination of African rhythms and Western musical influences as well as Tavares’ multilingual heritage: Portuguese, Criolo and English.
Balancê is the first song I heard by Tavares. Enjoy both the music and the video, and check out her website for more.