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Madredeus is a Lisbon-based quintet which plays modern variations on traditional Portuguese music. Vocalist Teresa Salgueiro is inevitably the focus of the music and her light, piercing voice is immediately striking. Guitarist Pedro Ayres Magalhães is also an integral component as the composer of a large part of their repertoire. The group's latest album, Faluas Do Tejo, is structured as a love letter to their home city.
The heart of the music Madredeus creates is the native fado style, often described as the blues of Portugal. Fado often explores poetic themes that relate to nostalgia, regret, and yearning, and it does not shy away from the larger issues of death, destiny, and love. The concept of saudade is ever-present in fado. Saudade is a Portuguese word that, like the Spanish simpatico, does not have an entirely accurate English translation. In the press material, Magalhães opines, "saudade is a state in which a person allows himself to experience contradictory feelings or cultivate nonlinear thoughts about love, life and time. For Madredeus, saudade is the key and the reason we make music.
Regardless of whatever may be lost in translation, the music on Faluas Do Tejo is entrancing. There is a soft lilt in the largely acoustic arrangements, filled out subtly with synthesizer work by Carlos Maria Trindade. The album creates a mood of sustained reverie that is beyond language. The music is exotic and yet still reassuringly universal. Faluas Do Tejo is refreshingly unique and certainly worthwhile for those who wish to experience more of a still-underexposed musical tradition.
Track Listing: Lisboa, Rainha do Mar; Fado das Dúvidas; Adoro Lisboa; Névoas da Madrugada; Faluas do
Tejo; No Meu Jardim-Sementes à Terra; O Cais Distante; Na Estrada de Santiago; Lá de
Fora; O Canto da Saudade (PAM).
Personnel: Teresa Salgueiro: vocals; Pedro Ayres Magalhães: guitar; José Peixoto: guitar; Carlos Maria
Trindade: synthesizers; Fernando Júdice: bass.
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.