Sara Tavares is a Cape Verdean singer based in Portugal, but dissatisfied with the narrowly post-colonial role accorded her by both cultures. "I want to be a part of a movement like the African Americans and African Brazilians were," she explains. "Instead of doing the music of their ancestors, they have created this musical identity of their own." It's no surprise, then, that Balancê owes little to the most notable Cape Verdean singer, Cesaria Evora, Tavares preferring a more optimistic approach than the older singer's saudade (melancholy) tendencies. Musically, too, her songs and arrangements are informed more by international influences - the boho-jazz vocal style of Rickie Lee Jones on "Ess Amor", the peppery marimba of "Bom Feeling", the blending of reggae and native coladeira rhythms on "Planeta Sukri", and the twinkling guitar style of "Poka Terra" and "Dam Bo", which recalls King Sunny Ade. It's clear from the way her lyrics skip between Portuguese, English and the Cape Verdean Crioulo, that her identity is broader than most, whether she's advocating equilibrium ("Balancê"), eulogising Lisbon ("Lisboa Kuya") or losing herself in the "sweet despair" of love ("Ess Amor").
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