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Corpo Illuminado

Cristina Branco

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Album Review

Cristina Branco might just be the best fado singer since the great Amalia Rodrigues, the woman who defined the genre. There's a subtlety to her voice that catches the emotions — and fado, like blues or flamenco, is about feel — and she never becomes histrionic, letting things stay in check, with the understatement much more eloquent. With this disc she refines and expands upon her two previous studio albums, even to the extent of the unaccompanied "Molinera" that closes the record, a song in a 13th century dialect. The musical relationship between Branco and husband Custodio Castelo, who arranges and plays the difficult Portuguese guitar (which gives fado its distinctive, mournful instrumental sound), continues to grow and deepen, while the other instruments — guitar and double bass, build a framework for songs like the delicate "Musa." As with all fado, the lyrics are the crux of the matter, and Branco has chosen some beautiful poems (all well translated in the booklet), with "Tu Tens de Me Acontecer" a particular standout. But with a set this sublime, it's almost impossible to single out any one song above the others. There's a floating, breathless beauty about the whole thing that makes it timeless — and over all too soon.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

By rights, Cristina Branco shouldn't sing the urban Portuguese song form called fado. The genre, whose name translates as 'fate,' has its history in Lisbon, a enigmatic, poetic, working-class style about accepting the lot life and love has dealt. But Branco, who grew up in rural Almeirim, Portugal, has established herself as one of the country's foremost fadistas, with a growing international reputation. Born in 1972, she grew up listening to blues, jazz, and music from around the globe. Although...
Full bio
Corpo Illuminado, Cristina Branco
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  • 9,99 €
  • Genres: World, Music, Europe
  • Released: 01 January 2001

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