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Various Artists: The Story of Fado

Hailing from Portugal, the folk idiom known as fado (“fate” in Portuguese) is a darkly sensuous, and too-little known music that has yet to get its due from the world music boom. It’s proximity to the cool emotional resonance of popular Cape Verdean singer Cesaria Evora’s music should guarantee its ascent. The music’s tale is told, or at least nicely sketched, on The Story of Fado (Hemisphere/Metro Blue 855647; 65:57), one in a series of compilations detailing various world music genres. Other titles in the series include compilations of tango, flamenco and music from Greece. Fado singers wax melancholic about love gone foggy or sour, or oppressive forces in individual will, all with an air of resignation and dignity. The instrumental backdrop is usually grounded in the unique-sounding Portuguese guitarra, a high-pitched 12-string guitar, sometimes joined by classical guitar or bass. Singers such as Carlos Ramos, Maria Teresa de Noronha and Amalia Rodrigues offer a seductive glimpse into the fado domain, deserving wider recognition.

Originally Published