The marriage of jazz and Cape Verdean music is one of those ideas that sounded obvious after someone else had pointed it out for me. A lazy jazz swing combined with a morna croon and some West African percussion ...of course! However, Carmen Souza is witty and restless, and she doesn’t take the easy, mellow route. Instead she flings her voice around like rubber, dropping from craquelure scat into a long flat-line that’s low and furry-sleek. The territory she stakes out for herself on Protegid, with the help of bass player Theo Pas’cal, is Cape Verdean without being obviously in debt to the internationally established performance styles of Cesaria Evora or Lura. Where Evora lifts a word like sodade and makes it glide, Souza picks out each syllable and wrings it. Protegid is a gesture of independence.
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