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Michelle Cruz: Where Cape Verdean Morna Meets American Jazz 10:23
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Michelle Cruz in the Radio Boston studios. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Michelle Cruz in the Radio Boston studios. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Michelle Cruz always loved singing but was also always discouraged from making it her life's work.

"My parents were born in Cape Verde, Africa" she told Radio Boston's Anthony Brooks. "They worked really, really hard to get to America and their dream for their daughter and sons was not to go into the world of music."

Yet despite their lackluster support, she pushed on — making time for music whenever she could, sneaking in practice and open mic nights after school and after work.

And now the Rhode Island native is getting noticed.

Newport Jazz Festival founder and director George Wein tapped her to play at his legendary post-festival party and Cruz also won Best Jazz Female artist at the 2011 New England Urban Music awards.

She joins us in studio to perform and explain how her Cape Verdean roots are slowly making their way into her new brand of modern jazz.

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This segment aired on October 3, 2011.

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