Sara Tavares is a Portuguese singer-songwriter of Cape Verdean descent. The most famous Cape Verdean, of course, is Cesaria Evora
, who is known for quiet, throaty ballads, but while fans of Evora will enjoy Tavares' music, Tavares is quite different. Her music is mellow, sultry and smooth, but much further-reaching genre-wise than Evora's.
Like many African and European musicians of the younger generation, Sara Tavares (who is 27) is not afraid to dance through genres or even languages without hesitation. For her, it is all about Balance, hence the title of the record (which is pronounced bal-ahn-SAY, by the way).
Balance skips neatly between sexy jazz ballads ("Dam Bo"), upbeat Afro-pop ("Poka Terra") and even smooth reggae ("Planeta Sukri") without missing a beat. Tavares is a wise and clever poet, and her inter-lingual wordplay resembles that of Manu Chao
. The album is breezily warm and eminently listenable.