Lucibela © N’Krumah Lawson Daku 2017

Lucibela has a powerful but mellow voice and used it to great effect in her Sydney Festival show at City Recital Hall. Lucibela is from Cape Verde, an island country off the coast of Africa and a former Portuguese colony. In the tradition of the great Cape Verde singer Cesaria Evora. Lucibela started her career singing Cesaria Evora, Titina and Bana songs for tourists in the hotels of Cape Verde and has taken that background into her own concerts at festivals and venues around the world.

She was joined on stage by a marvellous band featuring drums, an electric guitar, a seven string bass and a cavaquinho. A cavaquinho is a small four stringed instrument from the guitar family. The band was very skilled, passionate and played in a variety of styles.

The songs performed included some that were smooth and mellow, others that were boppy and infectious, mostly with a Latin flavour and even some jazz influences. Lucibela only announced the names of two songs: DONA ANA, about a woman who worked day and night for her family and LAÇO UMBILICAL about connection with her country. She explained that she spoke little English and she alternated between “thank you” and “obrigado.” She wasn’t there to talk to the audience but to sing, sway, smile and dance and she performed with charm and grace.

Lucibela’s clear and strong voice, with its emotional richness does great service to the both the melancholic and buoyant folk songs of Cape Verde. The audience’s enthusiasm grew as the evening progressed and the applause increased for each song.  Lucibela encouraged the audience to sing responses in the chorus of a couple of songs and to get up and dance towards the end of the show. It was an entertaining and enjoyable concert.

Lucibela played at the City Recital Hall on 24th January as part of the 2019 Sydney Festival.