Lura - Eclipse

We left Lura in 2006 with the flawless “M'bem di Fora”. Today, she is back with “Eclipse”, her finest album to date. Recorded in Brussels, Lisbon, Paris, Praia and Naples, this fourth opus confirms the reliable talent and natural elegance of a singer who still has plenty of surprises in store for us.

Penned by B. Leza, the historic Cape Verdean writer sung by Cesaria Evora, the song Eclipse is a treasure-house of emotion and sobriety. It 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 wives since time out of mind. Lura’s sensual voice sometimes conveys the distant regrets of her exile, a general, gentle sodade that is never bitter.

A Portuguese-speaking artist, Lura stands at the crossroads of Portuguese and Cape Verdean culture. Born in Lisbon in 1975 (the year of her country’s independence), she remains strongly attached to her family’s native land and the culture of Cape Verde. At the age of seventeen, she was already dancing and singing backing vocals for Juka, a Sao Tomé zouk singer. Giving up her swimming studies, she took the plunge into the musical deep end and soon acquired a reputation as a singer in her own right. In 1996, she recorded a first urban album of r&b and Afro-Portuguese zouk.
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.

Following the success of her next album, “M'bem di Fora”, which came out in 2006, Lura travelled the world, winning over audiences who proved ever more loyal and attentive to her music. Thanks to her, Cape Verde’s younger generations rediscovered their local musical heritage. They began to dance, fall in love and weep to the beats their parents and grandparents loved. Displaying great maturity, “M'bem di Fora” laid the foundations for Lura’s future songs and now her new album, “Eclipse”.
Today, she lays firm claim to her Cape Verdean roots, as if all the better to transcend them. “I sing the music of my parents’ country. I identify especially with Santiago and Santo Antao, since they’re my father and mother’s islands. Singing the music of Cape Verde is like experiencing things I’ve never known,” she explains in smiling French.

Growing up in the Creole quarter of Lisbon, Lura was surrounded by beats from the leeward and windward islands, as well as Portuguese pop, jazz, African music and American soul. 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 - for instance, Maria, a song written by Lura herself, whose bass and percussion showcase her voice magnificently.

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 by Vlu (Valdemiro Ferreira), one of Mindelo’s fashionable young writers, appeals to the honesty of Cape Verdeans facing economic adversity. Brass and backing vocals remind us that joy and good humour will always win out over life’s trials. Madagascan accordionist Régis Gizavo accompanies Lura on the tracks Marinhêro, Na Nha Rubera and Sukundida (the last two are the catchiest on the album). 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 more ingenuous 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 until now. 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 fourth album confirms the immense talent of Lura, jewel of the new Cape Verdean generation.