Portuguese Singer LURA Releases “Eclipse” on Four Quarters Label;
Newest CD by Lisbon-born Vocalist Mixes Cape Verde Roots
with New-Generation Immigrant Blues
Summer Tour begins in Chicago on July 9
Watch video from Eclipse CD:
Watch video from Lura’ s last CD:
LURA is back with Eclipse, her finest album to date. Recorded in Brussels, Lisbon, Paris, Praia and Naples, Eclipse, the artist’s fourth CD, is released on Four Quarters Entertainment on June 16th, and confirms the talent and natural elegance of a singer who has made a remarkable splash in the U.S. in just a few short years.
The title song of Eclipse sets the tone for the album: delicately wrought, acoustic and full of grace. The track is a perfect illustration of sodade - a vague feeling of melancholy and sadness, a nostalgic relationship with land, sea and family sung by poets, sailors and their loved ones for generations.
A Portuguese-speaking artist, Lura stands at the crossroads of Portuguese and Cape Verdean culture. Growing up in the Creole quarter of Lisbon, Lura was surrounded by beats from the leeward and windward islands, as well as Portugal’s pop, jazz, African music and American soul. Yet she also felt intensely drawn to the African archipelago that her parents had been forced to leave, and determined to reclaim for herself. Today, all these influences are to be found on “Eclipse”. The album expresses love, joy and sometimes sadness. Its thirteen new tracks display incredible energy as well as Lura’s burgeoning songwriting skills.
Thurs July 9 CHICAGO, IL Jay Pritzker Pavilion / Music Without Borders
Sat July 11 MADISON, WI LA Fete de Marquette
Sun July 12 WASHBURN, WI Lake Superior Big Top Chautaqua
Mon July 13 MINNEAPOLIS, MN Dakota Jazz Club 7pm & 9:30pm
Tues July 14 BOULDER, CO Colorado Music Festival / Chautauqua Aud.
Wed July 15 RENO, NV Artown Festival / Wingfield Park
Sat July 18 GRASS VALLEY, CA California WorldFest / Fairgrounds
Sun July 19 FOXBOROUGH, MA Showcase Live
Tues July 21 NEW YORK, NY City Winery
Lura was born Maria de Lurdes Pina Assungao in Lisbon in 1975 (the year of Cape Verde’s independence from Portuguese rule). At the age of seventeen, she abandoned a career in sports education when she landed a job dancing and singing backing vocals for Juka, a Sao Tomé zouk singer. Shortly afterwards, a well-received duet with Angolan singer Bonga, then partnerships with her fellow countrymen Tito Paris and Paulinho Vieira, caught the ear of José Da Silva, head of Lusafrica and Cesaria Evora’s producer, and he signed her to his label. Lura released her first proper album, Di Korpu ku Alma, in 2004. It met with strong critical acclaim.
Her next album, M'bem di Fora (I Come from Far Away) had its U.S. release in 2006 on Times Square Records. Following more glowing reviews, Lura travelled the world, winning over audiences who proved ever more loyal and attentive to her music. M'bem di Fora also landed the singer a nomination for a BBC Radio Planet Award.
Today, she lays firm claim to her Cape Verdean roots, both to understand her heritage as much as to transcend it. “I sing the music of my parents’ country. I identify especially with the islands of Santiago and Santo Antao, since they’re my father’s and mother’s islands. Singing the music of Cape Verde is like experiencing things I’ve never known, but that are still somehow mine,” she explains.
Her bandleader and arranger, Toy Vieira, wrote the superb “Um Dia” with her in mind. On this ballad with its jazz notes and discreet backing vocals, a radiant Lura literally shines, as she does on the catchy “Quebrod Nem Djosa” (Poor as a Church Mouse), one of the album’s high points. This song appeals to the honesty of Cape Verdeans facing economic adversity, reminding us that joy and good humor will always win out over life’s trials.
Famed Madagascan accordionist Régis Gizavo accompanies Lura on the tracks “Marinhêro”, “Na Nha Rubera” and “Sukundida”. The sugary 60s backing vocals of “Queima Roupa”, one of the three songs written by Mario Lucio, form a delightful conclusion to the album. As a bonus, “Canta Um Tango” is the work of the group Kantango with lyrics by Teofilo Chantre. Recorded in Naples, the track gently establishes its post-modern tango credentials.
On Eclipse, Lura takes a loving, soulful look at the full musical range of her country, the different Cape Verdean genres from coladera to funana. Full of verve and energy, but also with ingenious touches, her voice again makes all the difference. Yet as she modestly confides: “My career has been a continual surprise to me since I discovered my voice in adolescence. I take it one day at a time, but I’ll be a singer for the rest of my life. I’m sure of it. I don’t know why.”
Well, we do know why when we listen to “Eclipse”. This album confirms the immense talent of Lura, jewel of the new Cape Verdean generation.
“Eclipse is the work of an artist who has blossomed into full maturity.” TIMES UK
“While a number of Cape Verdean singers have emerged in the wake of the great Cesaria Evora, this marks the 34-year-old out as the melancholy diva’s true inheritor.” DAILY TELEGRAPH
“With an extraordinary and radiant voice, Lura is quickly becoming the name of Cape Verdean music." PHILADELPHIA WEEKLY
“Lura is a captivating performer steeped in traditional styles but interested in a vast range of sounds.” SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS