Maria de Barros is just a radiant woman. Wherever she goes, sunshine and joie de vivre come along. She’s Cape Verdean by origin but she’s also a citizen of the world. She was born in Senegal, grew up in Mauritania and eventually settled in the US. Her music blends various influences from samba, salsa to reggae. On stage, she can start with dance songs and shift the atmosphere to romantic moments. Her godmother, the great diva Cesaria Evora, talked about distress and poverty but Maria has chosen to show a more optimistic vision of the world. Cape Verdean call it morabeza. Maria explains it all.
Nicolas Roux: How would you define your music?
Maria de Barros: Although my music is of Cape Verdean tradition, it has a contemporary touch in the arrangements, instruments, and melodies. That’s because I grew up in various countries that are musically rich. It made a big impact on me when I was a child. But the base is again traditional. When people listen to my music, they know it’s from Cape Verde.
Nicolas: What are your songs about?
Maria: I’m a very romantic person so there’s a lot of romance in my lyrics. I talk about peace as well. There are songs about life in general, friends, etc. I really like teasing people in every day life and my songs also reflect this. I also speak of how we feel when we leave our country, this melancholy we experience. You know, every time I go to Cape Verde and then when I leave, my heart is heavy. I feel a deep sadness. It’s hard to explain. Some of my songs mention that and my love for Cape Verde.
Nicolas: What does Cape Verde mean to you?
Maria: In my third album Morabeza, the first song is called “Nos Paraiso” (our paradise). It describes perfectly how I feel about Cape Verde. It’s heaven for us. We’re poor but we’re rich musically. People are naturally nice. They have morabeza. It means kindness, hospitality, friendship. That’s what you get when you go to Cape Verde.
Watch the original video interview of Maria de Barros in French on Touki TV: