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World Music CD Reviews Europe

FADO: EXQUISITE PASSION

By Marie Elsie St. Leger
Published September 9, 2005

Narada World/Virgin

Lucky for the world, Amalia Rodrigues chose to elevate the rough-hewn yet poetic tradition of fado, a melancholic form once the province of Lisbon bars and back alleys, now the rage in concert halls around the world. Rodrigues's voice anchors Fado: Exquisite Passion, a collection of three fadistas ready and able to take up the late singer's mantle. Each modern singer has her own special something drawing the listener near: Cristina Branco's voice possesses a sweet sadness; Mariza hints at yearnings deep and undiscovered; Mafalda Arnauth sings of experience understood only through songs. But none touch Rodrigues's sultry passion, and how unfair to expect anyone to echo it. Lucky for the world, Amalia Rodrigues chose to elevate the rough-hewn yet poetic tradition of fado, a melancholic form once the province of Lisbon bars and back alleys, now the rage in concert halls around the world.