cape verde soul (Cape Verde)
Born in 1993 on the Cape Verdean island of Santiago, Elida Almeida lived in her grandparents’ home in rural Matinho.
After school on Maio, she would help her mother, who was working as a street vendor, but above all, she learned to sing at church and even presented a local radio show. Elida had a strong sense of justice and thought to become a judge or district attorney to help people who, like her, were facing hardship through no fault of their own. But music was her great passion.
She was already a mother by the time she returned to Santa Cruz, but still managed to continue her studies while looking after her child and little brothers. Her self-confidence was unshakable and she was an outstanding student, winning different prizes each year all through high school and college. Meanwhile, music remained her great comfort. The first song she wrote when still at high school already spoke of sorrow, but also reflected her soaring hopes and dreams.
Elida’s first album, “Ora doci Ora margos” (Sweet Times Bitter Times), is based entirely on the singer’s early life and the sweet and bitter experiences that shaped her humble existence. Elida Almeida wrote the words and music of most of the songs on this first record and sings with a touching sincerity that will move all those who identify with her story. Even the most detached listener will be enchanted and engaged by her deep, powerful voice, which seems to spring from the innermost sanctum of her heart: animated, still youthful and steeped in the blues of her troubled childhood. As we listen, we can easily imagine the crystal water of a stream gushing over the arid, rocky landscape of the island of Santiago, weaving around the obstacles in its path as if overcoming one challenge after another on its way to the sea – like the “moments of joy and pain” that fill the lives and destinies of the people of Cape Verde.
With its folk melodies enhanced by Santiago beats (batuque, funana and morna) and uplifted by the subtle arrangements of guitarist Hernani Almeida, this album has the power to roll back frontiers and conquer the world.