Teófilo Chantre

Azulando

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Teofilo Chantre is probably best known for the songs of his that the incomparable Césaria Evora has recorded. But he's also a very gifted performer, as Azulando (in actual fact his fourth -- or possibly fifth -- album) makes clear. While from Cape Verde, he's a longtime Parisian who's absorbed plenty of styles, and is equally adept at them all, whether extracting the morna from a ballad swinging on some rumba, or even venturing into chamber music. Evora and Angolan Bonga lend their talents to the disc, but in truth they're hardly needed. Chantre's wispy voice works perfectly on his material, bolstered by his astonishingly good guitar work that swings even in the gentlest mood, quite capable of offering a gentle lilt. He even essays a French lyric to good effect, but it's in Portuguese that he's completely at home, carrying a rare beauty and poignancy in his tone. He may not be in Evora's class as a singer, but on the evidence of this, he's not far behind, and when it comes to songwriting, there are few to even touch him.

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