The legendary Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora, who won international acclaim with her sultry voice and ballads of lost love, died on Saturday in a hospital on her native island of Sao Vicente at the age of 70, three months after retiring due to ill health, reported Agence France-Presse.
In September, her record label Lusafrica said Evora had decided to end her career due to health problems.
"I have no strength, no energy. I want to say to my fans: forgive me, but now I need to rest," Evora told French newspaper Le Monde three months ago.
Evora has sung the blues-influenced "saudade" of her native Cape Verde since a young age, but came to world fame late in life in 1992 after three decades spent performing in the bars of Mindello, Sao Vicente. In all, she has produced 10 studio albums and an anthology of historic radio recordings while touring far from her Atlantic island home.
Her voice was compared to that of US great Billie Holiday. In 2004, her album Voz d'Amor won a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album and stars such as Madonna, David Byrne and Brandford Marsalis descended on her New York concert.
Cape Verde immediately announced a two-day national mourning period and heaped tributes on the singer for putting the tiny Atlantic archipelago nation on the world map. President Jorge Carlos Fonseca said Evora was "one of the major cultural references of Cape Verde", while the prime minister Jose Maria Neves hailed her "invaluable contribution to the greatness of our nation and our pride".
Ho hum for Jo Hum
The keenly awaited Bollywood film Jo Hum Chahein, directed by Pawan Gill, opened to lacklustre reviews on Friday, despite the buzz that surrounded the project.
"Jo Hum Chahein certainly doesn't have what we wish from a film - entertainment!" wrote The Times of India.
Pitted against Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and the Vinay Pathak-Neha Dhupia vehicle Pappu Can't Dance Saala, the film didn't do as well as expected at the box office, either.
What the Hindi romantic movie has done successfully is showcase the talent of its two lead actors, the newcomers Sunny Gill and Simran Kaur Mundi, who are both being touted as Bollywood's next big stars.
Mundi, in particular, has been singled out by many entertainment writers for her beauty and acting. Before being crowned Miss India in 2008, she sold tickets at a Mumbai cinema. After being spotted there by the prominent Bollywood make-up artists Bharat and Doris Godambe, Bundi began a modelling career that eventually led to her taking on acting. Jo Hum Chahein is her debut film.
Raf Simons in talks to head Dior
Since creative director John Galliano's dismissal from Christian Dior in March, the fashion world has speculated on his replacement, name-dropping industry figures such as Marc Jacobs, Azzedine Alaia, Alber Elbaz, Stefano Pilati and Riccardo Tisci.
This week, the French haute couture house may have found its new head designer, Women's Wear Daily reports. It is none other than Raf Simons, who currently designs for Jil Sander and his own menswear label.
LVMH, the parent company of Dior, is said to be finalising the deal with Simons at the moment. The biggest hurdle is his contract with Jil Sander, which is supposedly not due to expire any time soon.
The low-profile Belgian designer, known for his minimalist aesthetic, is a surprising choice for Dior's leading couturier, given Galliano's maximalist, showy approach to clothing. Perhaps the storied luxury brand is aiming for a clean slate?
Vera Wang makes foray into menswear
One of the world's most famous wedding gown designers will soon cater for the groom. Vera Wang has reportedly signed a licensing deal with the retailer Men's Wearhouse to produce a tuxedo line.
The collection, called Black by Vera Wang, will hit stores early next year and will offer two styles, in black and grey.
Interestingly, Wang's tuxedos will be available not just for purchase but also for hire, for the starting price of US$220 (Dh810) for a full tuxedo.
The Beach Boys to reunite
The 1960s band The Beach Boys are reuniting to celebrate their 50th anniversary with a new album and a 50-date world tour next year, reported AFP.
The original members of the band - who fuelled reunion rumours when they recently re-recorded Do It Again - had already been in the studio working on songs for the new album.
They will perform at the annual Grammy awards show in Los Angeles in February, before launching their tour in New Orleans in April, they said in a statement on their website.