Nancy Vieira ‘No amá’ (Liusafrica/Harmonia Mundi) 5/5

Cape Verdean singer Nancy Vieira is one talented young singer with a very promising future and this stunning album could prove to be one of the surprise hits of the summer. Vieira’s delivery is that of understated passion and she has been surrounded by some of the cream of Cape Verdean instrumentalists, who compliment the singer’s approach to perfection, and critically among the best songwriting talents also with three songs from Mário Lúcio and two from Teofilio Chantre apiece. The opener ‘Maylen’, with its relaxed vocals and sensitive guitar and percussive accompaniment, is a strong contender for the most compelling album number, but is only one of a host of outstanding compositions on offer. Arguably the Afro-Cuban influenced and guitar led ‘Trubuco’ is the pick of the bunch while the light Brazilian-style samba ‘Nhara Santiago’ with delightful flute intro and cavaquinho background is another strong contender. What comes across from this recording is that Nancy Vieira has listened to a wide range of musicians and singers and there are even echoes of Brazilian songstress Elis Regina on the quasi-bossa (in terms of the sue of guitar and vocals) of ‘Ninguém é di ninguém’ on which Vieira displays some lovely ad-libbing as the song develops into a gentle samba in the second half. Only on ‘Brasil (nos sonho azul)’ can a parallel be made with other Cape Verdean singers, here the obvious comparison being that of Cesaria Evora. The album is already picking up plaudits in the French media and they were first to spot the mercurial talents of Cesaria Evora. A fine new talent to be reckoned with. Tim Stenhouse

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