Lura Di Korpu Ku Alma

Lura hails from Cape Verde, the archipelago made famous in musical terms by Cesaria Evora. Just as Cuba cannot be defined solely by the grand old sounds of the Buena Vista spider web, Lura showcases more active and driving music than Evora will ever come up with. However, Lura tries to have it both ways — blazing her own trail, but sometimes sinking into adult contemporary generic arrangements, which Evora could pull off on the strength of her world-weary personality. She is much more at home with the funana and batuku styles, two highly charged, propulsive styles that were forbidden until Cape Verde’s independence in 1975. The nostalgic ballad template threatens to set the tone of the album — note to artists: don’t ever use a bell tree in the leadoff song of your disc. It takes a few tracks for the best material to kick in. Once "Vazulina” drops, her forceful personality shines through the heavily Africanised (with more than a touch of Haiti) rhythms. The slick production is still earthy enough to give these tunes convincing heft. At least half a dozen tunes in this style succeed admirably, and she would do well to focus on the up-tempo tunes in her subsequent recordings. Q (Escondida)