Lucibela (Cape Verde)

The islands of Cape Verde are notoriously barren, yet they have produced some of West Africa’s most enchanting singers. Ever since the death of the legendary Cesária Évora in 2011, fans have been waiting for another Cape Verdean vocalist with sublime poise and emotional power. They may have found that artist in Lucibela, a 32-year-old singer with a truly magnificent voice, liquid and effortless across a wide vocal range. The secret of Lucibela’s extraordinary vocal technique lies in an ability to explore the deep register of Brazil’s great sambistas while adding a thrilling vibrato.

The charm of Cape Verdean music is its alluring alchemy of joy and wistfulness. Lucibela knows this all too well. When she was just out of high school, her widowed mother died and she made her living singing in tourist hotels. Before she turned to melancholy mornas and festive coladeras, Lucibela sang jazz, rock and Brazilian bossa nova. 

In 2016, Lucibela made her thrilling debut in Lisbon, Portugal, then caused another big stir when she appeared at the 2017 Atlantic Music Expo—a major music fair in Praia, Cape Verde where musicians and producers from all over the globe meet. Following this success, the singer participated in Belgium’s Sfinks Festival and, in 2017, recorded her first album, Laço Umbilical, with celebrated Cape Verdean musician Toy Vieira.

These days, Lucibela lives in Lisbon — yet another Cape Verdean lured away from her beloved home. But as the title Laço Umbilical suggests, there is an umbilical cord that keeps her connected to her home country and it is evident in every note she sings.