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Born in Portugal to parents who'd emigrated from Cape Verde, Lura didn't intend to be a singer. She was a young dancer in Lisbon when the Lisbon-based African star Juka asked her to sing backup on his upcoming album. Lura leapt at the chance, and she quickly impressed him with her voice -- so much so that he invited her to perform a duet with him on the album. The song became a hit, and the 17 year old found herself suddenly the darling of the Portuguese-speaking African music community: artists like Bonga, Paulinho Vieira and Tito Paris invited her to guest-sing on songs. She went on to release a couple of solo albums that mixed zouk and R&B (the hot styles for African youth in Lisbon). The music drew little attention outside of Portugal until the song "Nha Vida" was plucked off her debut to be part of the Red Hot + Lisbon compilation. Lura was just 21 at the time. After her first two albums, Lura started investigating her Cape Verdean heritage, and in 2004 she recorded her first album of specifically Cape Verdean music, Di Korpu ku Alma. The release focused on island styles such as funana and batuku rather than the ubiquitous morna, earning her huge accolades from world music fans and a Best New Artist nomination from BBC Radio 3's Planet Awards.
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