Born in Cuba, Mayra Andrade spent a lot of her time growing up in the Ténis neighborhood on the Plateau in Cape Verde. She was bound for a musical career early on and was performing Caetano Veloso songs for her family at the age of 4. Travel broadened her horizons as she grew up, spending time in Senegal, Angola and Germany. She returned to Cape Verde at 15 and sang in public for the first time. She started to sing with the backing of other musicians and attracted a lot of attention. At 17, she was already living alone in Paris, working with a variety of musicians from across the globe. In Cape Verde, Mayra had sung everything, Brazilian popular music, boleros, blues and French chanson, besides traditional repertoire, but it was in Paris that she focused her attention on the sounds of her roots in Cape Verde.
After winning the German Record Critics Award in 2007 and the BBC Radio 3 World Music Newcomer Award in 2008, Mayra received top praise from critics around the world. She’s recorded three albums to date with sessions in Paris, Havana, São Paulo, Rio de Janiero and Salvador. Her voice is clear and serene, with the maturity of a singer who is dedicated to her craft. “There’s much still to do!” says Mayra. “My luck is that I come from a small country, almost unknown and with very little natural resources where the main export is music.” Her latest record, Studio 105 was released in 2010 and features Munir Hossn (guitar), Zé Luis Nascimento (percussion),and Rafael Paseiro (bass). She will perform at globalFEST 2012 with the same setup, except Thierry Fanfant will fill in on bass. I’m sure everyone will be looking forward to Mayra’s performance, so to get you geared up, here is a nice live video of her playing “Mana” below.