This young fadista‘s been performing with a few English-speaking musicians recently (i.e., Prince, Mick Jagger), and for the first time she’s decided to add a couple English songs to her track listing among the Portuguese ones—Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You”, for example, and “Thank You” by David Poe, sitting there with “Havemos de Acordar” on one side and “E Tu Gostavas de Mim” on the other. This looks like a canny move from a sales point of view if you want to have some impact on the English-language market, as she evidently does, signing to Decca recently after years with World Village, but it’s a reminder that the rhythm of English is not a Latin rhythm, the one language hard-cornered in her mouth, the other with the sh-sh of mushy silk. English interrupts the flow. It sticks out.
But her voice makes Desfado good, a strong unwavering contralto, excellent on the sad-hopeful tone of a song such as “Quando o Sol Espreitar de Novo”, though it’s not the despairing and cathartic experience that the lyrics to “A Fadista” promise us—the fadista in this short parable shames her audience with emotion, sears its soul and pardons it. Moura is too gentle for that. She doesn’t make those demands on you. Souls are left unseared. But the woman’s got a voice.
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