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Kavita Shah

Cape Verdean Blues

Folkalist Records
Release Date: September 15, 2023

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Tour Dates



Sodade - LIVE
Interview w/ Neon Jazz
Kavita Shah, Live in The Greene Space
Reportagem da Televisio de Cabo Verde
1 Angola  
2 Flor di nha esperanc¸a  
3 Joia  
4 Um abrac¸o di morabeza (feat. Fantcha)  
5 Amor di mundo  
6 Situac¸o~es triangulares  
7 Flor de lis  
8 Cize  
9 Chaki Ben (feat. Maalem Hassan Benjaafar)  
10 Um porta aberte  
11 Sodade  
12 Cape Verdean Blues  
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Award-winning vocalist, composer, and educator Kavita Shah’s latest album, Cape Verdean Blues, a cul- mination of a diasporic quest to find a spiritual home, will be released September 15, 2023 on the new global music label Folkalist Records. The carefully curated album of traditional Cape Verdean mornas and co- ladeiras is also a tribute to the charismatic and unapologetically individual Cape Verdean vocalist Cesária Évora, and a love letter to her breathtaking archipelago and its welcoming people. Resonating with the music’s language of loss, Shah, herself the daughter of immigrants, spent several years conducting ethno- graphic research on the island of São Vicente. On Cape Verdean Blues, Shah’s collaboration with Évora’s longtime bandmates (including master guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Bau), and her bold self-possession have enabled her to achieve a rare feat: creating a world music album that feels like home.

At the heart of the 12-song album is “sodade,” an idiomatic word that doesn’t have a strict English definition, but connotes a melancholy sense of transience that permeates Cape Verde, its music, and its free-spirited island population. “In this paradise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I found a sense of home that has eluded me for much of my 37 years,” Shah says. She continues: “When I look back, I realize that upon hear- ing Cesária’s voice nearly a decade ago, she was summoning me down a path I must continue walking in search of sodade.”

Shah is a global citizen and cultural interlocutor whose work involves deep engagement with the jazz tradi- tion, while also addressing and advancing its global sensibilities. She is a lifelong New Yorker of Indian origin hailed for possessing an “amazing dexterity for musical languages” (NPR). Shah speaks 9 languages—in- cluding Portuguese and Cape Verdean Kriol—and incorporates ethnographic research into her original mu- sic. She has researched traditional music practices in Brazil, West Africa, East Africa, Turkey, and India. To support her work, Shah has earned grants from the Jerome Foundation, Chamber Music America, Asian Cultural Council, and New Music USA. Shah holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Harvard, and a Master’s in Jazz Voice from Manhattan School of Music.


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