Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Fado

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Not to be outdone in Iberian song by their own flamenco albums, in 2004 the Rough Guide series released The Rough Guide to Fado, an album that consciously looks only at the Lisbon and Coimbra traditions, and focuses on their differences to a degree. The album opens with António Zambujo, one of the newer stars with a touch of the cante tradition included in his song. An Amalia protégé follows, as does guitarrada star António Chainho. The powerful Cristina Branco comes soon after, followed by traditional format singer Vicente Da Camara (a relative of the great Maria Teresa de Noronha, no less). Artur Paredes, the very inventor of the Coimbra guitar traditions, is given a prominent spot in the middle of the album, joined by the master Amalia herself. The iconoclast Maria Da Fe has a moment in the light, and after a few others the venerable Maria Teresa De Noronha takes a turn. The album finishes on some of the newer voices of the tradition, from both sides of fado. Between the old and new, and the traditional and revolutionary, the album finds a good balance of sounds. The vocals are constantly worthwhile, as they are really the soul of fado, a music known almost entirely for its soul. Likewise, the regrettably few tracks of guitarrada here hail from the greatest names of the tradition. There are a few other noteworthy fado albums to be had already on the market, but this one is easily included as one of the better compilations, particularly for beginning listeners.

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