The glorious Café Atlantico finds Césaria Évora venturing into more Latin American musical landscapes, as opposed to Portuguese, which dominated her previous albums. Évora draws from traditional Cuban and Brazilian music to mesmerizing effect. The album is also a tribute to her home town of Mindelo, on the Cape Verdean island of Sao Vicente, which was once a busy port with sailors cruising between South America, the Caribbean, and Portugal. Therefore, the music is heartbreaking and nostalgic, warm and tragic all at once. The masterful "Carnaval de São Vicente" is one of the most joyous, bittersweet party songs ever put on wax (and was even issued as a maxi-single with fantastic remixes). "Roma Criola" is tragic, lonely, destitute, and always interesting, making for an undiscovered masterpiece of a ballad, and her rendition of the Spanish language standard "Maria Elena" is absolutely heartbreaking. The album evokes a moody elegance rarely found in modern music, from the sweeping opener "Flôr Di Nha Esperança" to the summery "Amor Di Mundo," and the picture she paints of this café at the end of the world is a gorgeous, multi-colored, and emotion-stirring palate. This album is nothing short of world class and will be enjoyed by generations to come.
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AllMusic Review by Jose F. Promis