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Fado Ladino

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Album Review

Rosa Negra is a five-piece "novo fado" group, a variation on the age-old traditional Portuguese genre that allows the influence of other musics to seep through and assert themselves. On Fado Ladino this means that significant Asian and Arabic sensibilities infiltrate the familiar Iberian, but not enough that the music gives itself up to modernity and loses its natural soul. The instrumentation consists of a trumpet, a violin, piano, accordion and percussion, which together creates a sensual and dramatic tapestry of emotions and textures. But the heart of the group is the vocals of the mono-monikered Carmo, whose readings of the typically gloomy lyrics (intense songs about love, loss of love, longing for past, and fado itself) are, equally typically, mournful, theatrical and utterly captivating. Unlike some of the other young fadistas on the scene, such as Mariza and Cristina Branco, Carmo lacks a bit of the edginess that often makes fado singers sound like they're on the verge of cracking up. But her — and the band's — navigation of that fine line between the ancient and the unknown is still fairly compelling.

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Fado Ladino, Rosa Negra
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