First there was Cesaria Evora, Then Lura, and now, the Portuguese/Cape Verdean singer/composer/guitarist Sara Tavares. The title of this CD (pronounced bal-on-SAY) refers to the equilibrium necessary for balancing her mixed, Crioulo culture that stretches from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Blessed with an angelic voice, and a knack for writing accessible compositions that are global, yet ancestral, Tavares is closer to Les Nubians than to Evora, as the title track makes clear. She's more about adapting her homeland's musical conceptions to include Angolan sembe Afrobeats on "Poka Terra," with rapper Melo D, reggae, and Cape Verdean coladeira rhythms on "Planeta Sukri," co-starring vocalist Boy Ge Mendes. Fadista Ana Moura helps Tavares tell her soulful story on "De Nua." With this heartfelt, autobiographical work, Sara Tavares emerges as a new dark and lovely diva for this decade. --Eugene Holley, Jr.
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