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Sara Tavares

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Afro-Portuguese songwriter Sara Tavares was born in 1978 and brought up in Lisbon. Second-generation Portuguese of Cape Verdean descent, Sara was brought up by an elderly matriarch in her community after her father left for the States in search of a better life, her mother having traveled south in pursuit of the same ends. Sara showed great musical promise from a young age, a potential that was cultivated and bore fruit while Tavares was still in her teens. Winning the Endemol song contest Chuva de Estrelas, followed by a victory at the Portuguese Television Song Contest in 1994, earned Tavares a slot on the Eurovision Song Contest, all at the age of 16. Her winning song, “Chamar a Musica,” was featured on her debut single release, Sara Tavares & Shout (1996), where Tavares mixed gospel and funk with her native Portuguese influences. Performing and writing songs in a mix of Portuguese, Crioulo, and English, Tavares spoke to her own lost generation of Cape Verdeans and Afro-European immigrants who searched to define their unique culture. Her sophomore effort, Mi Ma Bo, released by RCA in 1999, marked a noticeable change in direction toward Afro-pop. The record went gold in Portugal, announcing Tavares’ arrival as a national star. After a five-year wait, eager fans were treated to Tavares’ third album, released independently in 2006.

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