The popularity of Brazilian music in jazz and pop-jazz circles has inspired some artists who aren't from Portuguese-speaking countries to learn to sing in Portuguese. In fact, some American jazz singers (such as Susannah McCorkle) can actually sing convincingly in that language. Most of them have learned Portuguese as it's spoken in Brazil, but as this CD demonstrates, there's a whole other world of great Portuguese-language singing -- Portugal itself. The liner notes for The Rough Guide to the Music of Portugal describe Portuguese music as "one of the great and overlooked joys of European culture," and it's hard to argue with that after listening to this collection of mostly fado music (a style that has some similarity to the music of other Southern European countries like Italy and Spain). Containing mostly recordings from the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, this compilation turns the spotlight on many of fado's important singers, including Amalia Rodrigues, Jose Afonso, Maria Da Fe, Jose Afonso, Teresa Silva Carvalho, Maria Teresa de Noronha, Vitorino and Dulce Pontes. Most of these songs are acoustic, emphasizing acoustic guitar, and have a traditional outlook, but Lendas & Mitos' "Barquinha Do Mar" provides an electric take on fado that incorporates both rock and Scottish/Celtic music. Lovers of Brazilian music will notice how different Portuguese and Brazilian singers are in their approach to the Portuguese language -- in fact, their accents and pronunciation are every bit as different as an American's English would be from that of a Londoner. If you've never experienced the joys of fado, this superb CD would be an excellent place to start.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson