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Jorge Fernando: Velho Fado

In the great Portuguese musical tradition of fado, romanticism mixes with a subtle edge and also a certain dreamy quality. The wonderful fado singer Jorge Fernando leans in all these directions, including that of sentimentality, on the perfectly pleasant Velho Fado (Times Square 9017; 38:07). On the title song’s lovely and sad ode to the music itself, Fernando’s nicely understated, beautifully inflected voice intertwines with the widely respected Custodio Castelo’s supple lines on the smaller, indigenous guitarra portuguesa. The following track, “Quem Diria,” takes an unexpected, maudlin pop turn, but mostly the album floats by as in a sweet dream, only lightly tinged by mourning. It closes with “Ausente,” again with Castelo’s melodic commentaries and an inventive flute and cello arrangement adding to its subtle luster, and the appearance of fado singer Cristina Branco, an extra sonic treat on the way out.

Originally Published