Her forebears came from the island of Boa Vista with its Saharan sands, she grew up on the African Santiago and the nomadic São Vicente, and launched her musical career in Lisbon, capital of fado and pop. Naturally, the singer with her direct, open gaze is very much at home in the world of international Portuguese-speaking culture.
Manhã Florida is the singer’s fifth album and her second recorded for the Harmonia label, Lusafrica’s partner in the archipelago. It opens with Mi Sem Bo Amor, a superb morna penned by two great figures of Cabo-Verdean music: Vitorino Chantre, poet, musician and father of Teofilo, and Amândio Cabral, writer of the iconic Sodade. The first impression is of Nancy’s controlled, supremely true, highly characteristic voice, which has won the young woman acclaim from Portuguese critics as the “finest voice of Cabo Verde” of the new generation; the second is the wealth of musical worlds that unfold over a background of uncompromising classicism.
We find ourselves swept away on a journey to Cabo Verde that leads us from one island to the next in the heart of the Atlantic, between Africa, Brazil, Europe and the Caribbean, serenaded by the guitars and cavaquinhos of some of Cabo Verde’s greatest instrumentalists: Bau, Hernani Almeida, Zeca Mauricio and Zé Paris, not to mention Teofilo Chantre, who also directed the album’s flawless production.
Teofilo, the most Parisian of Cabo-Verdean musicians, is above all famous for the songs he wrote for Cesaria Evora (starting with the 1992 album Miss Perfumado), but also for his collaborations with Bernard Lavilliers – Elle Chante (She Sings), Y a pas qu’à New-York (Not Only in New York) – and Marc Estève (for Enrico Macias). Over the last 25 years, Teofilo Chantre has made his name as one of the key artisans of Cabo-Verdean music’s success worldwide, firstly with his own records (6 studio albums and one live to his credit) and then for his numerous collaborations as songwriter or artistic producer with other artists from the archipelago. So Nancy Vieira, who had been performing his songs for a long time, very naturally asked him to produce Manhã Florida. She wanted to dedicate the album to Cabo-Verdean guitar, whose melancholy, nostalgia and joie de vivre so beautifully accompany the charms of the archipelago’s melodies. Nancy carefully selected the pieces – which laid the foundations of Cesaria’s success and seem to be of another age – from the repertoires of the great classic writers (Amândio Cabral, Eugenio Tavares, Kaka Barbosa…) or the songs of today’s generation (Teofilo, Mário Lúcio, Betu, Tiolino, Antonio Alves).