New Reviews: May 17, 2001
Lusafrica/Harmonia Mundi USA
Hailing from the expatriate Cape Verdean Fantcha, is Viva Mindelo, a fabulously
upbeat yet sensual offering of Afro-Portuguese vocal World Music. A tribute to the city
and carnival life into which she was born, Viva Mindelo is Fantcha’s second Lusafrica
release. Featured are African-, Cuban- and Brazilian-influenced torch songs and
dance numbers arranged with full band, most notably including the Portuguese stringed
caraquinho. This CD is a fitting tribute also to Fantcha’s mentor Cesaria Evora
and the passionate culture from which they sing.
Harmonia Mundi USA
A totally mesmerizing, passionately mysterious and original release, Post Scriptum
holds an enormous weight of sadness so deep and wide, it is unfathomable. In her re-invention
of the Portuguese Fado lamenting tradition, Branco has chosen many new texts, for
which guitar accompanist Custodio Castelo composed new music, woven with delicate
threads of blues and jazz. In this, her impressive debut US recording, young Branco has
already emerged as a true Fado interpreter, even as an ambassador of the human spirit.
Mulemba Zangola is a spectacular CD from former Angolan freedom activist Bonga,
the most well known performer in the Angolan semba musical tradition.
Bonga’s raspy, gruff voice is compelling in the slow serious songs as well
as those upbeat Afropop songs. Although even the liner notes are entirely in
Portuguese, a roots album like this one with sprightly percussion, guitars
and vocals goes down in the histories of the character of a people. Essential
early Friday evening repertoire.
Reviews by Jenece C. Gerber.