Sensus

Sensus

by Christina Branco
     
 
Of the many moods that Portuguese fado imparts -- longing, misery, warning, fear, and desolation -- sexiness is usually not included. Cristina Branco, one of the very best contemporary voices of this traditional song, is out to change that with Sensus. The celebration of fleshly delight is so visceral that it's very nearly indecent, especially if you speak

Overview

Of the many moods that Portuguese fado imparts -- longing, misery, warning, fear, and desolation -- sexiness is usually not included. Cristina Branco, one of the very best contemporary voices of this traditional song, is out to change that with Sensus. The celebration of fleshly delight is so visceral that it's very nearly indecent, especially if you speak Portuguese! From Shakespearean sonnets and classical works by Camões to verses from Brazilian bard Chico Buarque and the randy double entendres of mountain girls ("Let him be diligent / Whoever sows the seeds of love / He who does not till the soil / Will never reap the grain"), Branco warms usually cold and distant fados with her supple soprano. Fado's heroines often sing like forces of nature: storm fronts lashing out at cruel seas, lightning striking lonely heaths. But Branco's delivery is delicate, poignant, alluring, flirtatious, and ultimately entrancing. If Branco's subject matter and delivery are atypical of fado, so is the instrumental component, the group led by her husband, Custódio Castelo, on Portuguese guitarra. Castelo is a deft arranger whose careful compositions invoke classical motifs and pop rhythms without straying too far from the traditional fado backing. "My Love," for example, introduces piano and bass without breaking the chamber esthetic. All in all, this is sublimely sophisticated mood music from a prodigious and provocative talent.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Chris Nickson
Cristina Branco's stature as the queen of new fado might have been eclipsed by the arrival of Mariza, but in some ways that's proved a blessing. It's freed her to pursue her own path without the weight of expectation on her. The spare arrangements keep the focus on her gorgeously luminous voice, and there are no real musical changes from her last album. She's still nibbling away at the edges of the genre, bringing in touches of blues and jazz, and working her way into Braziliana on Vinícius de Moraes' "Sonnet of Separation." Where she takes real chances are with the material, whose focus is on the facets of sexuality. Ten of the 14 songs come from the pens of her husband and bandleader, Custodio Castelo, with many lyrics by Portuguese poet David Mourao-Ferreira, although even William Shakespeare gets in on the act for one song, "Se a Alma Te Reprova." The juxtaposition of Branco's pure voice with such frank material makes for an odd combination, bringing a kind of glorious innocence to the proceedings. There's a wealth of emotion here, lovingly and sensually presented, making for a glorious package.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/27/2003
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0044006716824
catalogNumber:
000322502
Rank:
91989

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