North Shore News, Feature >>
Sara Tavares, Balancing act
SARA Tavares is the voice of a new generation.
While adults may find her music soothing like hip lullabies, youth in Portugal find it inspirational.
Although Tavares, 28, was born in Portugal her parents originally were from Cape Verde, a group of islands off the West African coast.
As a child, her parents left her in a search for a better life,and she was raised by an older Portuguese woman. Music became a way to find out more about her cultural roots.
Growing up in Portugal, Tavares loved to sing and was a big fan of music. She, like many of her peers, enjoyed listening to “black American music like R&B, soul, gospel and funk.”
At the age of 15, she entered a TV contest and sang a Whitney Houston song. She won that and subsequently won a national contest, singing an original song. After that she quit school “to get on with music.”
Now the eclectic Tavares is making her mark on the world music scene. She recently released her third album Balancê in North America on the Times Square label.
She has received critical raves for her current music style which is a mixture of several cultures — Portuguese, Cape Verdean and Angolan (both former Portuguese colonies).
“It’s a great creative stimuli. It makes me follow an image in my mind to blend them all together.”
Combining cultures is something Tavares is familiar with.
“In everyday life with my generation the way we talk, speak — it’s already a blend. Music is just another extension.”
Tavares will be travelling to Canada, another country rich in cultural diversity, for the first time. She is scheduled to perform at Centennial Theatre in North Vancouver on June 29.
Through her music, she hopes to offer a “positive contribution to her community” and a positive role model to younger generations.
“Young Africans always identify with American Africans, Brazilian Africans, and Jamaican Africans. It’s good but we also have our own things for little ones lost, wanting to be American. We need to enjoy who we are.”
Part of knowing who they are is a struggle as they try to understand their identity.
“We are Portuguese in our passport but foreigners in our culture.”
But through her music, Tavares is breaking out and making a difference. Her goal is to share her music with as many people as possible.
Inspiring for her are everyday life experiences and expressions of people, dancing with smiles and spirituality.
“Poor people have strong spirituality.”
Growing up, she loved to sing.
“I would close myself in my room and just sing.” At the age of nine she dreamed of becoming a singer or a soccer player.
From the time she won the TV contest as a teenager to now as she approaches her 30s, Tavares’ music has evolved.
Initially, she sang mainstream music but has shifted into “very personal music.”
Music to her is a “free profession.”
“I really have the freedom to do whatever I want . . . music is very demanding. I’m my own boss.”
Through her music, she gets to be creative and travel.
“I get to know my own self and renew my self more often.”
She looks to Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder and Portuguese folklore for inspiration in her music.
“It’s very simple music. It’s lullabies for adults.”
Tavares is performing at Centennial Theatre as part of the Portuguese Heritage Month festivities. Showtime is at 8 p.m. Tickets are available at the Centennial Theatre box office at 604-984-4484. 06/23/06