Listening Post 119. Wise is the traveler who dives into another culture without losing her own identity, who enables both visitor and host to see themselves in a new light. So it is that Carminho, a pre-eminent star of the fado renaissance, brings her made-in-Portugal voice to songs by the late Brazilian composer Antônio Carlos Jobim, the patriarch of bossa nova. An invitation from Jobim’s family prompted Carminho Sings Tom Jobim, the offer including accompaniment by the master’s band—guitarist Paulo Jobim (son), pianist Daniel Jobim (grandson), cellist Jaques Morelenbaum and drummer Paulo Braga. The 14 tracks also include duets with Marisa Monte, Chico Buarque and Maria Bethânia. Carminho carefully chose songs in which the musicality of opposing accents is closely matched (among other things, Brazilian Portuguese is less formal and has more open vowels than its European counterpart). The Lisbon-Rio chemistry is especially good with Monte in Estrada do Sol (Road to the Sun): “Give me your hand,” they sing, “Let’s go outside without thinking/About what I’ve suffered/Because our morning has made me forget” (video 1). Carminho’s fado passion soars and dances on the crests of Wave: “I know from that wave that rose in the sea/And from the stars we forgot to count/That love lets itself be surprised/While the night comes to wrap itself around us” (video 2). Her fado melancholy perfectly suits the saudade that unites the two Lusophone cultures in Sabiá (Song of the Thrush), with Jobim’s metaphors for vanished love (video 3); and she floats elegantly through O Grande Amor (Great Love), proclaiming, “There’s always a man for every woman/Always a false love you have to forget” (video 4). In music as in love, all is reciprocal: A fado singer dives into the Jobim canon, and when she emerges both are refreshed. (Warner Music Portugal/Biscoito Fino)
For more on Carminho’s music, use the Archive tab at right to see the review of her previous album, Canto, Listening Post 40, March 27, 2016.