Mayra Andrade

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Mayra Andrade

In 2006, this new voice emerged from the Cape Verdean archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean with her debut album “Navega”, a collection of songs that are as grounded in the traditional music from her homeland as they are nourished by different musical styles and colours.

Today, after three years and countless performances, Mayra Andrade has clearly let go of her moorings and gone where the trade winds have always led her. Her childhood was immersed in the greatest voices from Cape Verde, but her music draws on all possible sources “from radical free jazz to Brazilian music.”

Mayra Andrade was born in Cuba in 1985, spent her earliest years in Cape Verde and since the ‘90s she has lived in several places, including Senegal, Angola and Germany. In 2001, while still a teenager, she won the gold medal at the French-speaking “Jeux de la francophonie” in Ottawa, Canada. “I’ve spoken French since I was six years old. It’s like a third language to me.” She finally touched down in Paris, drawn to the capital city’s cosmopolitan blend of many different cultures. It proved to be the ideal location to find her path, both personally and musically.

“More than a singer from Cape Verde, I’m a singer, period. Music has always been a part of me. If I feel like mixing Cape Verde songs with other sounds and influences, I believe I’m allowed to do that.”

She is an entirely self-taught musician who writes on the guitar, free of the judgment and prejudice that can come with academic formulas and “logical” harmonies. Like singer-guitarist Tcheka, Mayra Andrade searches for her own music, fully immersed in the stylistic diversity of the Cape Verde islands. The two artists, along with a few others, have been referred to as the “Pantera generation,” named after a young composer who died in 2001; his songs had a gentle but profound effect on Cape Verdean music. Andrade covered four of his songs on “Navega.”

So, how would you classify her music? World music? A musical blend? Rhythm gone tropical? She responds with a laugh: “A musical crossroads, an “illegitimate” style...people from Cape Verde are naturally mixed,” she says. “If you take a close look at Cape Verdean music, you’ll find a strong connection to Brazilian music.”

This project demonstrates that transatlantic bond to its fullest. “But I don’t feel like this album is any more Brazilian than the first,” adds Andrade, who first devoured Caetano, then spent her childhood listening to the divas Elis Regina and Maria Bethânia. No, this repertoire is firmly grounded in Cape Verde, opening with a marvelous funaná called “Stória, stória”... and closing with “Lembransa,” a morna that sounds deceptively like a Cuban danzón. Her description of the rich musical atmosphere in Cape Verde is emphatic: roughly ten islands and more than fifty different styles! “Traditional music is very specific. I recognize it after the first bar. It moves me and gives me substance.”

Cape Verdean music is present from beginning to end, for example in her revival of the bandeira, a rhythm typical of the island of Fogo. African rhythms kick in; an expressionist waltz foils our preconceptions and plucks at our heartstrings. In this myriad of influences Brazil may be in the foreground, but Cuba holds a special place as well, as demonstrated by singer Kelvis Ochoa and tres player Pancho Amat’s participation in the project. “I’m very proud that my album includes some sounds from the country that brought me into the world.”

Cuban music is something special for her; it’s “a truckload of emotion,” as she puts it. This bittersweet fragrance blends perfectly with the hint of melancholy in her voice. In “Turbulensa,” by young Cape Verdean songwriter Nitu Lima, Mayra Andrade compares the sea’s changing tides to the life experience. To punctuate the metaphor, she uses the marcha, a carnival rhythm found in Santiago de Cuba as well as Brazil.  (taken from her website -

"Mayra Andrade (born 1985 in Havana, Cuba) is a Cape Verdean singer who lives and records in Paris, France. Andrade was born in Cuba but grew up in Senegal, Angola, and Germany.  However, she spent around two months of the year in the Cape Verdean island of Santiago.

The first song she remembers singing is "O Leãozinho" by the Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso, whom she has cited as a musical influence.  Andrade often performed as a teenager and won the 2001 Jeux de la Francophonie songwriting contest at 16, beginning voice lessons in Paris at 17.

During this time, she also met the composer Orlando Pantera and began collaborating with him.  Andrade then began to perform in various Portuguese-speaking regions, including the Cape Verdean cities Mindelo and Praia as well as Lisbon.  She won the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik (English: German Record Critics Award) in 2007. She also won the Newcomer award at the BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music 2008." (Wikipedia)

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Management Details

Mad Minute Music
Booking agent :
Corinne Serres
tel + 33 1 40 10 25 55 / fax + 33 1 40 10 17 37

Booking agent for Portugal :
Carmo Cruz
tel + 351 21 4418547 / fax + 351 21 441 6206


Booking agent for Spain:
Luis Vaca
Phone number: +34 933 603 600/ fax +34 933 633 450