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World Music CD Reviews Europe

ANA MOURA

By Marty Lipp
Published September 27, 2005

Guarda-me a vida na mao
World Village

In the years after the 1974 “Carnation Revolution” and the fall of the Salzar dictatorship in Portugal, traditional fado slowly lost its “official” taint. After the country settled into its new life, a new generation took up fado again, and Portuguese singers began to take the music out into the world. While all the rising fado stars have their own personalities, the gold standard has been music’s preeminent diva, the late Amalia Rodrigues. Where Rodrigues was highly dramatic, at times seeming to shout down the fates themselves, singer Ana Moura has a quieter take. Moura’s sweet, luxurious alto burnishes the poignancy of the sad fado tunes, only occasionally venturing into high drama. Singing contemporary works and two by Rodrigues, Moura shows that she has an inherent understanding of the genre and the dark beauty that it limns. A few livelier tunes, such as the wry “Vou Dar de Beber a Dor (I’ll Offer Pain A Drink),” are all that interrupt the languid, spare ambience. Moura’s debut evokes the old world without feeling like a relic and it launches her into the firmament of today’s brilliant, blue stars of fado.