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Friday, Oct. 13, 2006


Mayra Andrade "Navega"

Mayra Andrade's debut of acoustic world music sounds a bit like fellow singer from Cape Verde, west Africa, Cesaria Evoria. Mayra, though, has her own uniquely joyful and lovely voice. Recorded last year at just age 20, she sounds as if she's already had a 20-year career.

On "Navega," her singing is stunning on a selection of slow ballads, nimble Brazilian rhythms and languorous Cape Verdean songs. Backed by acoustic guitar, bass, the occasional horn or accordion, and a host of intriguing percussion, she floats and soars over the various rhythms and sounds.

Andrade was born in Cuba and grew up in Angola, Senegal, Germany and Cape Verde, and the songs reflect her global savvy. Now settled in Paris, her musical approach has both a spirited youthfulness and an enchanting maturity. The lyrics, mainly in Portuguese, with some French, conjure the dramas of love, work and the movement of peoples in a borderless age.

A diva for a new, global time, Andrade's first album is a mesmerizing musical accomplishment.

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