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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Rosa Negra

By Ernest Barteldes

Fado Ladino
ARC Music

Through the open-minded approach of Dulce Pontes, Cristina Branco and others bringing diverse sounds to the genre, fado has gained a younger audience. Rosa Negra is a band that blends in electronic sounds and various musical influences to the fold without losing the genre’s unique qualities. On “Vou Dar De Beber A Dor” (I Will Give Pain A Drink), the band makes use of strings and Arabic percussion (no guitars in sight), giving the tune a Middle Eastern feel. “Naufragio” (Lost At Sea) sets Cecilia Meireles’ poetry to music with a beautiful string arrangement that serves as the perfect backdrop to lyrics about the death of a romantic dream as it sinks to the bottom of the sea. The title track, which is filled with vocal effects and Middle Eastern instrumentation, is worlds apart from fado queen Amalia Rodrigues. Definitely not for purists, but recommended for those who can appreciate some innovation in the genre.