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Cristina Branco: Post-Scriptum

Fado, the coolly passionate music from Portugal, is the blues of Lisbon, with a seductively mournful air and sophistication. Among the best known of the younger generation of fado singers is Cristina Branco, whose new album Post-Scriptum (L’empreinte Digitale/Harmonia Mundi 13131; 40:22) is a fine primer for those just catching the fado wave. A singer of no uncertain gifts, with an elegance beneath the inherent plaintive coo, Branco sings songs mainly written by guitarists Jorge Fernando and Custodio Castelo, with texts often adapted from assorted poets. Highlights: the pliant, doleful opening tune, “Ai Vida (Alas, Life)” and the feistier “Toada em Realejo (Hurdy-Gurdy Melody),” with a surging rhythmic momentum that belies the typically minor mode chords.

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