Cristina Branco

Ulisses

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AllMusic Review by

First-time listeners to this Portuguese chanteuse may become so instantly infatuated with her beautiful, expressive voice and the plucky native guitar of Custódio Castelo that they may not truly care about the fado music traditions the two are carrying on via this enchanting collection. One could simply enjoy the impressionistic English translations of these Portuguese songs, punctuated sweetly and appropriately by an English-language rendering of Joni Mitchell's unabashedly romantic "A Case of You." But for those who want to understand the essence of Branco's artistry, it's interesting to note that her mission is to take fado out of its traditional mode of suffering, melancholy, and impotence and breathe new life into the genre with more hopeful interpretations. Composer and guitarist Castelo helps her realize her vision by artfully combining classics and originals to fit the beautiful tonality of her voice. His melodies tap the memory of the fado but transcend the fatalistic and head boldly into more lighthearted territory. Beyond such definitions, it's simply beautiful to listen to.

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