Lura at Fiddler's Club in Bristol

Philip Songa By

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Fiddler's Club
Bristol, UK
May 19, 2007

It was while trawling through the music store HMV that I chanced upon the latest offering from a versatile Cape Verdean-by-way of Portugal vocalist. I had not heard of Lura prior to that. When I checked out her music online, I instantly loved what I was hearing and proceeded to purchase her latest album M'Bem Di Fora (I've Come From Far Away).

So when I discovered Lura was performing in the UK in May, I didn't need a second invitation. Arriving early, I was privy to Lura and her band setting up and fine tuning the sound for the evening. The show was not due to start for a couple of hours, during which time more and more people slowly filtered in, but far from the capacity crowd I had expected to see.

If the performers were disappointed by the fairly small crowd, they certainly didn't show it as they launched into what was to be a satisfying and high-energy performance. Lura has looks, talent and poise, all of which she uses to great effect. Blessed with a versatile voice, bursting with energy and emotion, and possessing a mastery of timing and pitch, she was given the space she needed to draw on all of those qualities by the musical settings of arranger Antonio Vieira. Delicate arrangements of "Nha Vida and "As- Água proved especially effective showcases for her talents. Able to communicate in several languages, including English and French, Lura fully engaged her audience, telling us tidbits about her songs. The music itself reflected the rhythms of Lura's native Cape Verde.

The concert at Fiddler's encompassed songs from her new album as well as her previous album Di Korpu Ku Alma and showcased a confident, experienced performer. Though it took a while, the audience finally warmed up to the performance, especially when Lura showed she had what it takes as a dancer and invited the audience to sing along on "Vazulina and "Na Ri Na."

From the Batuku to the Funana and slow ballads, there was much to love in the music. Looking at the lyrics, a listener can readily tell why her music works—she sings about the simple things in life. People, relationships, hope, doing your hair, tilling the land, traveling...

Originally starting out as a back-up vocalist and dancer for Juka, another musician from Cape Verde, and singing with the "elder stateswoman" of Cape Verdean music, Cesaria Evora, Lura has now come into her own. Comparing this performance with a previous DVD performance made even more apparent that Lura now comes across as more confident than ever in herself and her music. Ably backed by a topflight six-man band of her own, Lura's star, as could be seen by anyone at the concert, is just beginning to shine.

Though she was born and grew up in Portugal, Cape Verde is clearly in Lura's soul, which she generously bared for the audience at Bristol this May night.

Songs: Na Ri Na, Batuku; Oh Náia; So Um Cartinha; Nha Vida; Raboita Di Rubon Manel; Vazulina; Poinciana; Romaria; No Bem Falá; As-Água; Ês Anu Raboitas; Ka Di Fiansa; M'Bem Di Fora; Festa Di Nha Kumpadri; Fitiço Di Funana.

Personnel: Lura: vocals; Antonio Vieira: piano/musical director; Aurelio Santos: guitar; Paulino Pina: percussion/congas; Carlos Morais: drums; Edevaldo Figueiredo: bass guitar; Guillame Singer: violin.

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