Lisbon-based Lucibela is known to global fans of Cape Verdean music for her 2018 debut álbum. The record producers say that her “..breezy, unhurried vocal style was lauded as a brazen admixture of her jazz, rock, and Brazilian bossa nova background with the sensuous, slowly-swinging mornas and sprightly coladeras that have moved Cabo Verdean dance floors for ages.
This is a new sound for Chicagoans to hear—just as each year’s World Music Festival in Chicago is known to deliver. Here, Picture this Post (PTP) asks Lucibela (Lu) about her music and her plans for this ONE NIGHT ONLY performance.
Is this the first time you are performing in Chicago? Do you have any particular plans of what you will do in Chicago when you are not performing?
Yes, it is my first time in Chicago and America. I haven't thought of anything yet but if I have the time I would love to know the musical life in Chicago.
Many Chicagoans think of the World Music Festival as a way to see and hear the world without a passport. What would you most like Chicagoans to know and appreciate about your culture and how your music is a part of it?
I wish they could hear our music which is our richness to me and appreciate it in its simplicity. My music is to be felt, to be heard and even danced… it comes from the heart and everyone feels it their own way… I try to convey to everyone who does not know our music that its magic is in simplicity.
Please tell our readers about your group—how many musicians? What instruments to they play?
In my group I have four musicians: my music director Aldair Neves who plays the six-string guitar in the solo and Melodica,
Stephan Almeida who plays the seven-string guitar in the accompaniment, José António who plays the cavaquinho and Nir Paris who plays the drums. Aldair neves also plays the piano and other instruments but in my project he only plays guitar and melodica. Stephan also plays ukulele but in my project is playing only guitar. José António plays the accompaniment guitar too but in my project he only plays the ukulélé
How did your group come together? What is the background of each of the performers in your group?
I knew Aldair in Cape Verde although we are not very close at that time… we got closer when I came to live in Portugal. In Lisbon I met him again and met all the other musicians. In the summer of 2016 I already lived in Lisbon and sang in bars and restaurants. I met Stephan at Casa da Morna one afternoon where all the artists and musicians were present for an afternoon of music…
He saw me sing and invited me to spend a day at the Commerce Square where he and other musicians played. At first I found it strange because I did not know that they made musical afternoons in the streets of Lisbon. I went to him one day, I liked what I saw because the people who stopped there were only to listen and dance to our music because there was nothing around… neither food nor drinks… they even stopped to enjoy the music. I joined this band called “Nos Raiz” (it still exists… today with another singer). In this band I met Aldair and met Nir. We played every day on the streets of Lisbon and sold our album to the tourists present. Nos Raiz recorded a record where I sang 4 songs, my colleague Flegon sang 4 and the rest were instrumentals played by the group's musicians.
When I recorded “Laço Umbilical” and became part of Lusafrica I stopped singing in the streets but brought with me my friends and musicians to be part of my new stage. I met José António through Lusafrica because he had already played with Cesária Évora. For me one of the best ukulele we have in Cape Verde. All these musicians have been playing for many years with many different artists… from Cape Verde and beyond.
Other comments for our readers to let them know about your group, your sound and what you would like them to know about you?
In Cape Verde the music is heard everywhere… from a young age we are surrounded by this tradition. In the old days there was no house where someone didn't play notes or sing. Most of the musicians haven't studied in schools… they learned at home with their family. Everyone in my group has learned to play with their families or close friends. Many musicians in Cape Verde to this day play only by ear ... they can't write or read a song. I grew up listening to my mom humming at home but I only appreciated that grown up. I started singing in Mindelo, São vicente and passed by many other islands. From bar to bar, from restaurant to restaurant, and from hotels to hotels, I sang 3 to 4 hours almost every day for 11 years. I met several musicians and learned a lot from them all. I made music my profession, my pleasure and my bread. Whether or not I have always lived on music. Many steps to reach the dream of recording my first album which is one more step in the many that will come. I'm not a composer yet but when I sing I try to express what the composer wrote… I try to bring the feeling of the song (be it happy or sad) to people. The songs on my album were chosen by me based on the composers I like… both the youngest and those who are no longer with us. Toy Vieira was chosen by me in conjunction with Djo da Silva to be my music producer. I have always admired him as a musician and producer. I think I could not have a better producer for my work. I never had singing lessons, I learned to sing listening to others sing on my radio. With my album "Laço Umbilical" things have been happening fast and I have stepped on so many stages that I never dreamed. After participating in the Womex 2018 the concerts just increased and this year I had the pleasure of doing many concerts in Europe and making my first tour of America. This is all a dream that I intend to grasp and continue. For now I don't see myself singing anything but traditional Cape Verdean music. This is where I feel comfortable, fulfilled and happy. Djo da Silva and Lusafrica is the family that supports me and makes it all possible.