Cristina Branco: Branco

If social media represents the spotlight, what’s hidden in the shadow? Cristina Branco answers on her fifteenth album: Real life, a jumble of dream, sorrow, survival, despair, the passage and freezing of time, and every love story too ambiguous or messy to post about. A persistent question surrounding Branco’s career in recent years is whether she has left fado behind or simply created her own fado-piano genre of Portuguese chanson. But perhaps the … More Cristina Branco: Branco

Sopa de Pedra: Ao Longe Já Se Ouvia

In the folk tale, a hungry traveler stops in a village and asks for food. Rebuffed, he fills a pot with water from a stream, puts a stone in it and places it over a fire. Villagers intrigued by the idea of “Stone Soup”—delicious, the clever traveler insists—surround him and eventually offer ingredients (carrots, onions, seasoning) and share the meal. Like the story that inspired their name, the women of Sopa de … More Sopa de Pedra: Ao Longe Já Se Ouvia

Catarina dos Santos: Rádio Kriola

The subtitle of Catarina dos Santos’ second album is “Reflections on Portuguese Identity,” a subject as big as the ocean that touches Portugal, Africa and Brazil and as small as the working-class town where she grew up. Facing Lisbon across the Tagus, Barreiro is home to families from Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea, Mozambique and inland Portugal. From an early age, Dos Santos—whose father … More Catarina dos Santos: Rádio Kriola

Duarte: Só a Cantar

Duarte is a fado purist, making no concession to other genres, just Portuguese and acoustic guitars, bass and his sensitive, expressive voice. Literally and figuratively, he takes pains to be authentic as he explores the nuances of loss and makes Só a Cantar (Singing Alone), his fourth album, more hopeful than some of his earlier work. He laments warmed-over fado for tourists: “We’ve lost the dark side,” he said in an interview with Public Radio International—referring … More Duarte: Só a Cantar

Teacher Jekyll: Ondas

It’s easy to exaggerate a kindred connection between two people from the same city, even if they were born 150 years apart. But consider: Jules Verne, who grew up in Nantes, certainly knew that nature can send a wave thousands of miles across the sea before it breaks on a shoreline. And Verne’s modern-day townsman, producer-musician-DJ Olivier Corre, knows that human imagination can create waves that bounce back and forth … More Teacher Jekyll: Ondas

Che Sudaka: Almas Rebeldes

They began in struggle, illegal immigrants from Colombia and Argentina playing their music on the streets of Barcelona. Fifteen years later, Che Sudaka has played more than 1,500 shows in 45 countries, etching a profile as exuberant, socially conscious, dance provoking, independent thinking exponents of cumbia-ska-punk. Following a tradition of controlled chaos, never doing just … More Che Sudaka: Almas Rebeldes

Sandra Portella: Banho de Fé

Samba isn’t just Brazil’s most iconic cultural symbol, it’s also a useful lens. From its roots in Africa to its emergence in the slums of Rio de Janeiro, from attracting the most talented artists to inspiring pulsing love stories, from bringing together people of different classes and races to channeling (through Carnival) every aspect of Brazilian history, it reflects and radiates countless facets of the nation’s identity and soul. On Banho de Fé (Shower of Faith) … More Sandra Portella: Banho de Fé

Cuca Roseta: Luz

Rather than linger over beautiful sunsets, our ancestors ran home at dusk, so fraught with danger and superstition was the night. Advanced societies tend to take light for granted. On her fourth album, Cuca Roseta shows a preindustrial appreciation for light’s physical and spiritual dimensions—illumination and inspiration—and treats fado, Portugal’s signature music form, as a natural source of joy and introspection. Roseta is a singer and songwriter … More Cuca Roseta: Luz

Diogo Nogueira: Munduê

The samba artist Diogo Nogueira has reached new heights and greater depth with his fifth solo studio album: It’s the first collection for which he wrote or co-wrote all the songs (with A-list partners, including Hamilton de Holanda and Dona Ivone Lara) and it also establishes him as a scholar. Nogueira’s family history (father a leading sambista) and the observances of the samba centennial in 2016 fueled his desire to explore the genre’s roots in Afro-Brazilian … More Diogo Nogueira: Munduê