Musician/Composer from Cape Verde living in London
Carmen Souza was born in Lisbon (81) within a Christian family of Cape Verdeans. She grew up in a mixed language environment of Creole, the Cape Verde dialect her parents spoke at home, and Portuguese, always surrounded by the Cape Verdean way of life.
In her teens she sang professionally in a Lusophone Gospel Choir. Being a strongly spiritual person, Carmen always saw music as her mission and felt privileged to have the opportunity to express herself through it, working hard every day to deserve that opportunity. Musicians like Luis Morais, Theo Pas'cal, Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarret, Diana Krall, etc, are definitely those that truly inspire her evolution and search for a unique personal style.
Theo Pas'cal, her producer and mentor and one of the best bass players in Portugal, discovered her talent and introduced Carmen to Jazz, Fusion and other contemporary sounds that markedly influenced her musical development.
In 2003, Carmen began working with Theo on the compositions that would be included on her début album Ess ê nha Cabo Verde. Carmen wanted to create a new sound, in her ancestor’s dialect Creole, that would mix traditional African and Cape Verde rhythms like Batuke, Morna, Cola djon, and others, with her jazz contemporary influences, in a totally intimate and acoustic vibe, different from the traditional festive environment of Cape Verdean sounds.
Ess ê nha Cabo Verde, was released two years later in 2005 to critical acclaim and led to her international breakthrough performance at the WOMAD at Reading Festival of the same year.
In “Verdade” her second album, which She co-produces and features on Wurlitzer and guitar, released in 2008, Carmen Souza signs an exciting and melodically vibrant repertoire in Creole that once again received amazing reviews from the International Press worldwide.
Since then Carmen has wowed the crowds on larger stages leaving a trace of deadly captivating performances with her unmistakably female, but dark, deep and earthy voice.
After 2 critically acclaimed albums, Carmen Souza returns in 2010 with the impressive "Protegid" (Protected) that blends perfectly with elegance and sophistication the African and Cape Verdean traditional rhythms with Contemporary Jazz and Afro-Latin. This groundbreaking album presents a highly innovative sound & a continuation of the work already initiated in the two previous albums: pushing the limits of what constitutes the Cape Verdean music, World Music and Jazz.
This new set of songs showcases Carmen Souza's excellent ability for melodies and lyrics while exploring her mesmerizing colourful, versatile and expressive voice. “Expressive, able to tell these wonderful texts without losing a single syllable and giving them an impressive intensity. The timbre records show domination and sensitivity that goes through states of mind difficult to translate musically.” Say Portuguese Ethnomusicologist Domingos Morais.
“Carmen Souza sings in her native creole dialect with an intimacy, sensuality, and vivacity, characterised by a tremendous lightness of touch. Her music has a deceptive simplicity, a rare clarity, derived from a unique mix of influences from her Cape Verdean background to jazz and modern soul creating this beautifully vibrant, largely acoustic, accessible hybrid. World soul music for the 21st century.”— David Sylvian, UK singer-songwriter
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