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Cesária Evora 1941-2011

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Legendary Cape Verdean singer Cesária Evora passed away Saturday at the age of 70. Known worldwide as "The Barefoot Diva" for her signature shoeless performance style, Evora brought Cape Verde's traditional "Morna" music to the international stage in the late 80's and 90's. Despite singing in a creole language spoken by fewer than one million people, Evora's music is so inviting and accessible that the barriers of language fall apart the moment her rich voice sings the first note. Check out her song "Petit Pays" (above).

While her early life was beset with tragedies and hardships (she was sent to an orphanage at the age of 10 by her widowed mother), Evora got her first break when she followed her friend's advice and began singing in São Vicente's (the island where she was born) many sailor taverns at the age of 16. It was here that she mastered the art of performance and nurtured the irrepressible spirit that would one day bring joy to audiences all over the world.

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Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA / AFP) (Photo by AMOS GUMULIRA/AFP via Getty Images

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