Various Artists

Great Voices of Fado, Vol. 2

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It's a cliché that fado is the Portuguese blues. It's not exactly true, as such comparisons never are. Fado, which means "fate," is a much more gentle, surrendering acceptance of life's misery than the blues, which try more often to purge painful emotions than to soothe them, although both styles are distinguished by the way they look heartache square in the face. Great Voices of Fado, Vol. 2 is a wonderful collection of songs, perfect for a relaxed or romantic evening. It offers classic fadistas like Amalia Rodrigues and Joao Braga, as well as contemporary performers like Rosa Madeira. The CD also offers fado in the classic, minimalist style of singer-plus-guitars as well as more modern hybrids. Bévinda's "Covilha," for example, fuses fado with flamenco. But the prettiest fados may be the ones that confine themselves to the traditional small, mandolin-like guitar of that genre, like Pedro Villar's "Mue Triste Fado." The whole collection is a delight.

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