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Carmen Souza at Regattabar

Lisbon-born Cape Verdean songstress Carmen Souza has it all: excellent repertoire, a mesmerizing, expressive and versatile voice that glides effortlessly through a huge range of registers and a spellbinding, charismatic stage presence. Whether she is singing the plaintive morna (the Cape Verdean variation of the blues) or an exuberant batuco, Souza is always convincing owing to her swingy jazz sense of timing and her virtuoso voice full of nuances from the highest to the lowest notes she sings. Singing in her ancestors’ Creole language and mixing traditional African and Cape Verde rhythms with contemporary jazz influences she creates a unique sound all of her own.

Carmen has been a professional performer for almost half of her life. Carmen embraced her Cape Verdean roots from an early age: her father, a sailor, played the guitar while Carmen was also part of a Lusophone gospel choir in her teens.

But it wasn’t until she was studying translation at a university in Lisbon that she discovered the sounds that would forge her voice: the music of jazz greats, from singers like Ella Fitzgerald, who use their voices as instruments, to soloists like Bill Evans, Miles Davis, and, most symbolically, Horace Silver. Theo Pas’cal, one of the best bass players in Portugal, has nurtured Carmen’s talent and their mutual inspiration has produced a fullsome embrace of Cape Verdean music while simultaneously re-thinking, re-visiting and expanding its scope and possibilities.

“Cape Verde was colonized by Portugal, but a lot of other European, African, and Arabic influences came afterward. It’s a mestizo culture,” Souza reflects. “I came to discover that the songs that people sang in the fields on Cape Verde have the same pentatonic scale identified with the blues,” in part due to a shared history of slavery. Carmen points to the intriguing, yet rarely explored connection between American jazz and Cape Verdean music, something she felt almost immediately.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here:

As usual with R-bar events, if you want to sit with the group please first purchase your ticket, then send me (Kenny) an email with either your full name or ticket order#, indicating that you would like to sit with the group, by the end of the day on Wednesday, June 12th.

Also for those wanting to hang out some more, we will go to a nearby spot after for food, drink, and conversation. It will most likely be The Red House, who just started up their summer live music series.


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  • Kenny H.

    Pics are up, enjoy!

    June 18, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    Great night! Carmen Souza and her band were amazing. I went on just Regattabar's description, and I'm a little surprised how fortunate we were to be in the presence of such great musical talent! There was no doubt midway through the concert, that I was going to be buying a CD. The after-event at The Red House was nice too. I love how they provide a nice late chillout vibe, with background music that is good, but still conducive to talking. We sat right next to the band and still talk to each other. Just a great time...thanks everyone for coming!

    1 · June 16, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    Just arrived. In line picking up my ticket

    June 15, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    Delayed a bit will be there at 715 hopefully

    June 15, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    I'll be in the lobby at 7pm, hopefully we can meet for a little while before being seated. If not, look for me in the lobby after the show.

    June 15, 2013

  • Theresa H

    Bought my ticket. Thanks.

    1 · June 14, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    If you did not send me an email asking to sit with the group, and you would still like to, please send an email to:

    [masked], include your full name or ticket order# and then request to be seating with my group. There is no guarantee it will be honored, but worth a try. Oh, and make sure you purchase a ticket before sending the request :)

    June 14, 2013

  • Katy

    My ticket # is below.

    June 13, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    Last call for group seating!!! Purchase your ticket and email me your full name or ticket order#. I will be sending the list in today

    June 13, 2013

  • Kenny H.

    Just a reminder that if you want to sit with the group to purchase your ticket, and then send me an email with either your full name or ticket order number by the end of the day, Wed. 6/12. I will be sending a group seating request list to Regattabar on Thursday morning.

    After the event, we will catch some more live music at The Red House, for those that want to join us afterward! More info at

    June 11, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Looking forward!

    1 · June 10, 2013

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