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Cape Verdean Melancholy

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Album Review

Born on the Cape Verdean island of São Vicente, Rufino Almeida (aka Bau, which is the Portuguese word for box) was raised by a professional luthier who taught him both to build and to play the guitar, the violin, and an indigenous four-stringed instrument called the cavaquinho, all of which he mastered at a young age. During his tenure as musical director for singer Cesaria Evora in the 1990s, Almeida found time to record several albums of his own, highlights of which are compiled on Cape Verdean Melancholy for the U.S. market to coincide with the release of the Pedro Almodovar film Talk to Her (which features the album's lead track, "Raquel," in its soundtrack). The music is lovely and expertly played; the layered guitars and cavaquinhos are spiced with subtle percussion and an occasional Stephane Grappelli-esque violin; "Luanda" features saxophone as well, and the effect is not entirely successful, but the song's overall groove is more intoxicating than the others on the album, which are mostly thoroughly pleasant but not always terribly interesting. Those who love the music of this region already will find much to enjoy here, but most newcomers will likely find it enjoyable but rather bland.

Cape Verdean Melancholy, Bau
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