Titina Portrait – Uma Vida A Cantar Cabo Verde
Titina is the other grande dame of Cape Verdean music, alongside the recently deceased Cesaria Evora. Not too long ago, this musical jewel celebrated the 50th anniversary of her stage career with a brilliant concert that featured numerous excellent guest-musicians from her homeland.
This CD brings together the best pieces from her CDs of the past two decades and her early 1960s recordings. Some of the old recordings had been considered lost, but – with 45 rpm EPs as our source – we were able to restore them. The intimate charm of those old recordings, some with larger orchestras and choirs, is a fantastic complement to the more recent releases on which her warm, fully matured voice gives expression to the joie de vivre of the archipelago in a touchingly poignant way.
Titina`s repertoire has been shaped by the morna and coladeira styles. While the melancholic, slow morna, with its minor keys and syncopated rhythms, almost sounds like chamber music, to be listened to preferably in a peaceful and sensually stimulating atmosphere, the faster dance rhythms of the coladeira are reminiscent of the structures of Brazilian samba music and West-African dance music – quasi a musical response to the sad, yearning morna (the name probably derives from the English “mourn”).
The coladeira texts are laden with satire, sarcasm and brashness, whereas the dominant mood of the morna is “sodade”, a feeling of pain associated with separation, with longing for the loved one and for one`s homeland.
Although Titina has lived for decades in Portugal she has maintained close contacts with her homeland, and her many concerts are given mostly on the Cape Verde islands or else in the diaspora, for her compatriots living abroad. She too has “sodade” in her blood and incorporates it into her music.
As Titina does not like to talk about herself, we asked her brother Moacyr Rodrigues about her:
“Titina imbues her song lyrics with a very special aesthetic, be it lyrical or satirical. She conjures up tension and exploits the beauty of her art to the full. In doing so she communicates expressively through the timbre of her deep, warm voice, her movements, her dancing, her eyes, her lips, her smile.”