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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Madredeus

By Marty Lipp
Published September 2, 2005

Faluas do Tejo
Metro Blue

It must have been a magic moment. In 1986, members of the yet-unnamed Madredeus were searching for a voice to embody their modernized take on fado, then happened into a bar and heard the teenage Teresa Salgueiro’s angelic singing. Almost 20 years later, Salgueiro’s ethereal voice is still front and center, but the alchemy is only complete with the group’s latticework of acoustic and electronic instrumentation around it. Madredeus’ latest is a tribute to their hometown of Lisbon and, despite a few subtle twists, it will instantly seem familiar to fans. The music echoes the dark-blue tonality of fado, but is much more delicate. A reggae undercurrent and even a hint of bossa nova do not derail the Madredeus sound, which may frustrate those who hear a sameness to the group’s albums. Salgueiro’s voice is as considerable and fragile as fine china, but it would be interesting to hear her in a less stately format, even if it makes as much sense as taking a tea set to a hoedown. Faluas is a fine addition to the group’s aural Limoges.