Cesaria Evora, 1941-2011

One of the great vocal artists of our time has died. I saw Cesária Évora play once, many years ago, and she really was the "barefoot diva." Her voice filled the auditorium, and it seemed to pierce through the roof to fill the skies above.

She died today in her native town of Mindelo, on the island of São Vicente, in Cabo Verde.

The queen of "morna" music was a heavy cigarette smoker and drinker (as you can see in the video above). She retired in September in ill health, apologizing to her fans. She underwent open-heart surgery in 2008, and survived multiple strokes; her death today was related to those health problems. Two days of national mourning have been declared in her home country.

Obituaries: AP, Rolling Stone, NPR, Guardian, BBC video.

More: Wikipedia, Amazon discography.

The song embedded above, "Sodade," is probably her most famous, and her first global hit. The lyrics are worth a read if you don't understand Portuguese.

(via @rawkreative).

Photo: Evora in 2000, REUTERS/Andrew Winning