Cape Verde’s dynamic vocalist Carmen Souza is back with a new record entitled Kachupada on Galileo Music. The title of the album is inspired by a Cape Verdean dish, kachupa, which is a hearty stew filled with an array of ingredients and spices. This is a fitting title since Kachupada features an eclectic mix of Cape Verdean music infused with a strong jazz influence. There are a couple popular standards here, “Donna Lee” and “My Favorite Things,” but it’s the original compositions that shine the brightest on this set.
Carmen Souza and Theo Pas’cal team up again on this record and the results are sensational. Souza’s voice is fun and gritty at the same time. Blessed with a terrific low and high register, Souza teases listeners with her playful voice, jumping octaves with ease. One of her finest characteristics is her ability to add texture to anything she sings. Whether it’s her joyful approach on “Manhã 1 de Dezembro” or her hushed melancholy on “6 on na Tarrafal,” Souza manages to captivate with her passionate and unpredictable vocal melodies.
Pas’cal’s arrangements are the perfect match for Souza’s voice, and their strong musical connection flourishes throughout this set. Offering up bass, acoustic guitar, percussion and backing vocals, Pas’cal gives tremendous musical support for Souza to soar over. The other band members include Jonathan Idiagbonya (piano), Mauricio Zottarelli (percussion), Tuche (guitar), Nelson Oliverira (bongos, backing vocals), João Frade (accordion), and Guto Lucena (saxophone). Souza even adds her acoustic guitar and piano to the mix. The entire ensemble is more than capable of playing many styles and rhythms and they often switch gears mid-song to great effect.
Kachupada is a rewarding listen that expertly balances Cape Verdean music with jazz. This is a fusion record, but it doesn’t sound like one because the music comes naturally, even touching upon North African and Brazilian music along the way. Check out a stunning live performance of “6 on na Tarrafal” below and don’t miss her appearance at DROM on June 14th. Check out Carmen Souza on Facebook to see when she will be appearing in your area.