Sara Tavares

Mi Ma Bô

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On this, her major-label debut, Cape Verde singer Sara Tavares (who turned 21 the year the album was released) comes off as a talented young artist who hasn't quite decided what sort of artist she wants to be. Perhaps her handlers at RCA Records Portugal wanted to give a broad sense of her abilities, or to maximize her market potential. In doing so, they have presented several different performers in one. The basic Sara Tavares may be a pleasant vocalist gliding over fingerpicked acoustic guitar as she croons romantic words in Portuguese, but there are other artists here, starting with the one who sings the leadoff title track against a light dance beat. On "Querer Sonhar," she sounds sufficiently soulful to be an African Anita Baker. A teen pop artist bounces along to "Cabo Verde Na Coração." And on such English-language tracks as "I've Got a Song in My Heart" and "Breathe," Tavares sounds like she's been listening to Mariah Carey. The direction Tavares will take as an artist may depend on which, if any, of these songs become popular. Or maybe as she matures, she'll figure out for herself and go her own way.

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