Views from the hill

This has not been a very active and/or productive month and that’s because I was hiding. Here:

This is what you see when you sit on an uphill terrace in the city that was home to Cesaria Evora. In the early evening, the view looks like this…

In the foreground, the street leading to downtown Mindelo, because that’s where we are. In the background, a French frigate. I was told that during the Senegalese elections a French warship was spotted around Cabo Verde. Some folks never seem to learn. Still, you have to wait until…

…before the music comes out. It was in the bars and taverns downtown that Cesaria Evora was singing to sailors. She also performed on Portuguese cruise ships before the rest of the world discovered the twin magic of her voice and Cape Verdian music.

Today, you’ll come across the good, the mediocre and the embarrassing in all shapes and sizes. I was subjected to some seriously off-key morna in a restaurant but in this very same town you only have to walk down the street and run into Tcheka and Lura, two of the best voices Cabo Verde has to offer. They may play somewhere tonight – but then again, they may not. Beer and grogue, a lethal local distilled drink, widely available. Good food too.

I’ll be back here, staying in the superb Solar Windelo for the view, flying to the capital Praia for the excellent Kriol Jazz Festival (more about that at some other point), and taking the boat out to Santo Antão, the next island, for some spectacular mountain walking. If only to sweat out the grogue

Outside the airport, which is named after her, there’s a statue of Cesaria Evora, in her characteristic, almost nonchalant pose, holding a microphone. I took my imaginary hat off and bowed. I didn’t think she’d mind…

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