The music world has lost yet another one of its greats. Cesária Évora, dubbed the “Barefoot Diva” for often performing without shoes, has died in her native Cape Verde at the age of 70. The musician began her career singing in the bars of Mindelo in the West African island nation. Évora retired in September because of health problems. In recent years she had had several operations, including open-heart surgery last year. She was known for her sultry voice and her take on the complex sounds of the traditional music of the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa, a former Portuguese colony.
Although she mostly sang in the version of creole spoken there, her art and music was embraced and felt even by audiences who couldn’t understand the lyrics. However, Évora’s international fame came late in life. Her 1988 album, La Diva Aux Pieds Nus (Barefoot Diva), recorded in France where she first found popularity, ignited her international acceptance. Her 1995 album Cesaria brought her first Grammy nomination, leading to a tour of major concert halls around the world and album sales in the millions. She won a Grammy in the World Music category of the 2003 awards for her album Voz D’Amor. Watch above the video to her arguable most known hit, “Saudade.” Rest in Power.