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Vibrant, tremendously danceable and so very Cape-Verdean, Lura's new album focuses on the archipelago's energizing up-tempo funana beat. It features contributions from three remarkable guests: Brazilian poet and musician Nana Vasconcelos on title track ''Heranca;'' Richard Bona on ''Barca di Papel'' (which he co-wrote with Lura); and rising Cape-Verdean music star Elida Almeida on ''Nhu Santiagu.'' Heranca is a golden opportunity to re-explore the rich culture of Cape Verde and its people, traditions and music in the company of the most melodious, charismatic singer of an entire generation of Cape Verdean artists.
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Cape Verde has a diverse musical palette, but the international renown of the late Cesária Évora skewed the island nation’s reputation toward the melancholy morna style. Lura idolized Évora, with whom she performed, but she favors the more up-tempo funaná beat. Born in Lisbon to Cape Verdean parents, Lura (Maria de Lurdes Pina Assunção) didn’t speak Cape Verdean Creole until her teens but ultimately made the language the foundation of her career. Herança (Heritage), her sixth album, highlights life’s trials, the push and pull of other shores—from forced migrations of the past to voluntary relocation today—and her own identity. She works with Cape Verdean, Brazilian and Cameroonian artists; far from diluting the album’s authenticity, the imported influences reflect the islands’ mixed patrimony. Competing ideas of “home” vie in Sabi di Más (Have a Great Time): “I want to leave so bad/But I’m compelled to stay,” Lura sings in her low, voluptuous voice, “I want to stay really bad/The day I have to leave.” Maria di Lida is the ballad of a single mother, “struggling for a living, searching for ways to earn it day and night.” The flamenco-infused Mantenha Cudado (Take Care) rues cultural decay: “Before, everything had its order/Even the disorder of children,” she recalls, “But today, even the rosary is recited backwards.” Other standout tracks are the morna-rhythm Nhu Santiago (My Santiago) and the bossa/jazz Barco di Papel (Paper Boat). After Évora’s death in 2011, Lura says she felt something missing in her life and wound up moving to Cape Verde. Herança not only pays tribute to her heritage but also embodies it.