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

Cristina Branco: Menina

Cristina Branco is a fado virtuoso but her interpretation isn’t confined to a single genre, nor is her inspiration limited to the world of music. Menina (Girl), her fourteenth album, began with a dream about Diego Velázquez’s iconic painting Las Meninas, in which the figures came to life. The vision prompted her to write a self-portrait that she shared with several musicians, asking them to deliberate on her text and come up with songs. The resulting album reflects feminine sensibilities, habits and passions … More Cristina Branco: Menina

Ana Moura: Moura

Fado is about soul and spirit, and Ana Moura is extraordinary at both. On her landmark sixth album, two of the more passionate and traditional songs (Moura and Moura Encantada) play off her name: in Portuguese folklore, mouras encantadas are enchanted, seductive beings, capable of transformation, who promise treasures to whoever frees them from the spell under which they live. But Moura, the leading fadista of her generation—who doesn’t so much cross into other genres as … More Ana Moura: Moura

Cuca Roseta: Riû

Cuca Roseta’s third album has touches of fado’s traditional melancholy, but from the pace of her arrangements to the bounce in her voice, most of what it has is joy. It’s an embracing joy— while some fado artists temper their music with jazz, pop or other genres, Roseta wraps outside influences in the mellow chords of Portuguese guitar, fado viola and double bass. She wrote the lyrics for eight of … More Cuca Roseta: Riû