Lura is part of a new generation of Cape Verdean musicians rediscovering the hidden traditions of her ancestral homeland. Her music is inspired by the styles of Santiago - the most African of the islands - as opposed to the more Portuguese dominated islands that produced such legendary singers as Cesaria Evora. On M'Bem di Fora, Lura gives a dazzling performance of provocative, sensual and spicy music as her voice breathes life into the wide range of songs on the album - produced and arranged by Nando Andrade, who produced Cesaria's last album. With a sound a bit sunnier than the fado-dominated Portuguese singers, Lura incorporates elements of R&B and Funk into her sound.
Fans of Cesaria Evora have been kept in short commons for some years by a relative dearth of new material and emerging talent. But Lura, who was born in Portugal of Cape Verdean parents, is clearly a contender for latters throne. The beautiful young singer describes herself as a country girl and as such, is more interested in rural styles like the funana
and the European, colonial-based mazurka
than in the more urban morna
, a barroom blues associated with the elder diva. Her songs, many of them self-composed, deal with small-town realities like a mother's advice to her son in hard times, an unplanned pregnancy, uninhibited holiday celebrations and other tales that might well be discussed on a neighbor's door-step. This is not to say that she is a narrow-minded provincial or hide-bound traditionalist; her arrangements are paragons of acoustic elegance, owing as much to R&B, Argentinean tango, post-Tropicalia Brazilian pop and French chanson
as hometown firesides. Her voice, a clear mezzo-soprano-to-alto, ranges from girlish to smoky but as her material tends toward upbeat rhythms, it is her sun-drenched, precisely calibrated melodic sense and crackerjack phrasing that anchors each tune. The title track, a frenetic hip-swinger sung as a duet with Zeco di Nha Reinalda, could make a stone dance. --Christina Roden