Carminho: Canto

carminho3I Sing, Therefore I Am

Listening Post 40. Fado means destiny. And for Carminho, destiny is fado, by nature and nurture. Her mother is a fado singer and her parents ran a popular Libson fado club; her sumptuous and nuanced voice soars without roaring and softens without descending to a whisper. Her third album, a collection of traditional and innovative songs, solidifies her status as one of the leading artists of the fado renaissance. Canto has elements of drama and saudade, but also offers delicate and paradoxical balances of mood and pace, picked to perfection by Portuguese guitars. Saia Rodada (Frilly Skirt) is a sprightly bridal song: “I put on a frilly skirt to spice up my love’s homecoming,” Carminho sings, “I posted our wedding announcement on the wall and prayed for him in all the chapels” (video 1). Chuva no Mar (Rain on the Sea), a duet with the Brazilian singer-songwriter Marisa Monte, is an impressionistic musing on the endless swings of a day or a lifetime, while Porquê (Why?) is a poem of longing with a passionate gait. The album’s pinnacle, composed by Carminho, is Contra a Maré (Against the Tide), a joyful gambol and fadista’s anthem about fighting the current by day and flourishing at night: “The stars rise, you can see the lights/I’m like a rogue shadow, formed into a ballerina, dancing with them across the night” (video 2). One quibble, or perhaps another paradox: Track 12 would have been better as a coda. It’s a lovely piece about life, entitled Destino. (Warner Music Portugal/Ruela Music Management)

 


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