On what would have been her 78th birthday, Cape Verdean singer Cesária Évora, who became known as the “Barefoot Diva” was honored in a special Google Doodle.
Born in 1941, Évora began singing when she was a girl. Upon becoming an adult, she began pursuing music as a career by performing at bars in her hometown of Mindelo.
After several years of singing without financial success, she was eventually spotted by former musician and record producer José da Silva, who urged her to record her music in France.
Her big commercial breakthrough was in 1988 with the release of the album, La Diva Au Pieds Nus. She followed that with Miss Perfumado in 1992. One of her most famous songs, “Sodade”, appears on that album. The song encapsulates the nostalgia of emigrants from Cape Verde.
Evora would go on to release new albums every two years or so over the course of 21 years. Her final album, Nha Sentimento, came out in 2009, two years before her death.
In 2004, her album Voz d’Amor won a Grammy for Best Contemporary World Music Album, following up on her first nomination for 1995’s Cesária.
Évora performed shoeless onstage, which some interpreted as a sign of solidarity with the poor. But in an earlier interview she disputed it saying that “In Cape Verde, lots of people are like me. They just don’t like to wear shoes.”