Review

Cristina Branco is at the modern forefront of the Portuguese fado genre, a kind of national variation on the blues, although it has more in common with Greek rembetika. The lyrics are poetry, the music soft. But it's all about the signing, putting across the image, and emtion of the song, which is why Branco stands out so much. Her voice has a tenderness that could move easily from the intimate to the sweeping over a single phrase, all the while making the listener she's singing only to him. The scaled-down accompaniment helps that feeling. By its very nature, the form is quite sensual, and Branco accentuates that with her slightly breathy singing. But there's also a clarity to her, almost a translucence, which illuminates the words. By choice she uses modern lyricists, poets really, with the melodies coming from guitarist Custodio Castelo. This is very much floating music, whether on the bereft "Abandono" or "Fado Das Sedes," and perfect for listening in the dark hours before dawn, or when you need an emotional catharsis, which the title track can certainly offer. Beautiful, sometimes almost erotic, this is music for the heart. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi

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