Born in Havanna, Cuba in 1985, Mayra Andrade seems to embody the typical Cape Verdean citizen of today, as more than 50% of its people live abroad. During her childhood, her parents first moved back to Cape Verde, where she spent her first years. When she was aged 6, Mayras family moved to Senegal, Angola and later Germany. All those influences later on caused Mayras music to be a unique mixture of different styles.
Yes, I am a fan of Mayras music since I first heard of her around 2005 and think this is a musician worth sharing! Her music is far from the mainstream played by our radios on a daily basis, and it gets very obvious from listening to her that music has always been her passion. In particular, it is the music of her home country, which she blends with influences from jazz, bossa nova and some other styles to create her very own style. And, to be honest, it is the musicians daring to interpret the traditional music of their country in new ways, which I find the most interesting when it comes to world music.
I guess Tunuca has been the first song I had heard of Mayra. I was mesmerized by the uniqueness of her voice and by how she interpreted the music of her home country in her own special way. Read more about the musical background and vast richness of different music styles by clicking here or on the globe.
Having started singing at an early age, Mayra had her first public appearance in Cape Verde when she was aged 15. Soon after she met Orlando Pantera, who would have a strong influence on her career as a musician. He supported her in her initial steps in the world of music.
When she was only 17, Mayra moved to Paris and crossed paths with musicians from all over the world. She started to be on stage regularly and soon attracted the attention of record labels and the press.
While she had broadened her horizons in Cape Verde, it was in Paris that she focused her attention on the sounds of her own country. She interpretes the songs in her very unique way though, which also brought her citizism from fellow citizens. As she stated in an interview with Melchior Huurdeman for VPRO Vrije Geluiden in Amsterdam:
“When I had to think about what kind of project I wanted to do, I said I wanted to make Cape Verdean music. But I want to do something different. I don’t know yet what I want to do, but I want to do something different. (…) I fall in love with my country everytime I return.”
She recorded her first album «Navega» in only three weeks and has since stepped on such important stages as the Carnegie Hall, Le Casino de Paris, Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Center, Coliseu dos Recreios of Lisbon and the Coliseu of Porto, Centro Cultural de Belem also in Lisbon or La Cigale.
She is also a regular feature on some of the worlds main festivals like the Central Park Summer Stage, Printemps de Bourges, Womad Festivals, Jazz Baltica, Expo Universal of Beijing, Jazz Festival of Montreal.
And last but not least: a version of Mayra’s song “Dimokransa”, which I like very much. Hope you like it! 🙂