The man who discovered Cesária Évora to the world

José da Silva, the Cape Verdean musician and producer who discovered Cesária Évora, has led a fascinating life with several notable accomplishments.

Jun 18, 2023 - 14:21
The man who discovered Cesária Évora to the world
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Cesária Évora, the renowned Cape Verdean singer, was discovered by a Cape Verdean musician and producer, José da Silva. Her discovery story is quite serendipitous and highlights the power of talent and chance encounters.

José da Silva, alias José Adelino Barceló de Carvalho (the same birth name as Bonga, the famous Angolan singer), also known as Djô Silva, was born on April 22, 1940, in São Vicente, Cape Verde. He grew up in a culturally rich environment, deeply influenced by the music and traditions of the islands.

In the early 1960s, he moved to France, seeking better opportunities. There, he became involved in the immigrant community and the vibrant music scene in Paris and founded the record label Lusafrica in Paris, dedicated to promoting and showcasing the music of Cape Verde, as well as other African and Lusophone artists. Lusafrica played a crucial role in bringing Cape Verdean music to a global audience.

Throughout his career, José da Silva was a passionate advocate for Cape Verdean music and culture. He believed in the potential of Cape Verdean artists and sought to elevate their careers on the international stage.

José was the one who discovered Cesária Évora in a small bar in Mindelo, Cape Verde, and recognized her extraordinary talent. He played a pivotal role in launching her international career and helping her become a world-renowned artist.

Apart from working with Cesária Évora, José da Silva collaborated with several other notable Cape Verdean and African musicians. He produced albums for artists like Bana, Teofilo Chantre, Tito Paris, and many more.

José da Silva's work at Lusafrica significantly contributed to the popularization of Cape Verdean and African music worldwide. He played a crucial role in breaking down cultural barriers and introducing the world to the diverse musical traditions of Cape Verde and beyond.

Throughout his career, José da Silva received numerous awards and recognition for his contributions to the music industry and his efforts in promoting African music globally.

His dedication to Cape Verdean music and artists, particularly his role in discovering Cesária Évora, has left a lasting legacy. His work at Lusafrica continues to impact the world music scene, and he is remains as a key figure in bringing the music of Cape Verde to a broader international audience.

Camila Cienfuegos Member of EA Coordination Team