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Carmen Souza: Window To Another World

The sound of Cape Verde extends well beyond the lulling, mournful themes that might spring immediately to mind. Those qualities typify morna, the island's national music. But Carmen Souza's vivacious "Protegid" opens a window to another world entirely, cranking up the tempo, slicing up the syncopated rhythm to resemble Thelonious Monk's "Evidence" and allowing her to power her voice with the assured intuition and inventiveness of a jazz singer.

The anxious arrangement mirrors the song's words, which, upon translation, touch upon life's uncertainties. "When you doubt your own power, you block your whole life," Souza sings as the rhythms intensify. But the way her voice rides those waves, it's clear that she feels protected by a higher power. That leaves no room for mourning.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for BETJazz.com. He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.