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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Ana Lains

By Doug Merlino
Published April 3, 2007

Different World

At 27, Ana Lains is one of a new generation of Portuguese singers bringing a contemporary touch to fado. While she stays true to the soulful heart of the style, her singing is colored by the influence of jazz and bossa nova. For this, Lains’s debut album, producer Diogo Clemente keeps the arrangements fairly traditional, adding cello, accordion and piano to the staples of acoustic guitar, bass and Portuguese guitar. Lains, who has a rich and expressive voice, has no problem conveying plaintive longing on songs such as “Vou Trair a Solidão.” Others, such as “O Fado que Me Traga” and “Roseiral,” are surprisingly bouncy, uptempo tunes. The album closes with its two most arresting tracks. “Negra Cor” is an ethereal lullaby, with Lains’s vocals mesmerizing over a delicate piano figure and cello, and “Pêra Madura” juxtaposes Lains against an intriguingly simple backdrop: percussion, cello and a call-and-response male chorus.