The Worldmusic Blog (Seckou Kouyate)

Uguru - World Music from Portugal

Tagged with: Uguru Portugal Fado Amelia Muge Ana Lains Ana Moura Citania Gnomon Jorge Fernando Karl Seglem Laura D'Alma Maria Berasarte Pedro Moutinho Rão Kyao Rodrigo Leão Fabia Rebordão Cristina Pato review world music Glyn Phillips

 Just listening to a sampler from one of Portugal's leading world music Management and Booking Agents, Uguru.  They are actively promoting little known sides of Portuguese music that live in the shadow of the overwhelming national music, fado, as well as promoting music from outside their borders. 

"Portugal has been pouring out rivers of good music over the last few years"

Portugal has been pouring out rivers of good music over the last few years and is definitely worth checking out.  Having said that, on this sampler most of the works are what I would term 'midnight music' - alone, in the velvet of the night, to dimmed lights and with closed eyes - and that inevitably includes fado as well as ballads.

"beautiful songs shot through with sadness and longing"

I'm particularly enjoying the work of Amelia Muge who sings beautiful songs shot through with sadness and longing "Quem a Janela" and "Nevoeiro", as does the confusingly named group Laura d'Alma (which contains not a single women named Laura, being a band fronted by singer Catia Oliveira).  

I would also recommend the Spanish speaking, Basque-born Maria Berasarte singing the tango-esque "Cosas Que No Sé" and the more traditional "Dos Pajarillos".  Ana Lains also contributes two tracks, the sparse voice and piano of the haunting "Parolagem da Vida" and the definitively Portuguese sounds of "Não Sou Nascida do Fado".  

"stripped-bare honesty and integrity"

For the men, the award winning fadista, Pedro Moutinho, sings the jaunty title song of his latest album," Um Copo de Sol" as well as bringing a stripped-bare honesty and integrity to his treatment of "Vou-te Levando em Segredo".  Moving away from song, the legendary Portuguese bansuri flautist and saxophonist Rão Kyao is worth checking out on "Na Graça".

In the equally legendary Rodrigo Leão (Cinema Ensemble, Madredeus, Sétima Legião), Portugal has an inspiring, idiosyncratic composer of international level whose name can be mentioned in the same sentence as Michael Nyman and Ryuichi Sakamoto.  ("Voltar" and "Vida Tão Estranha").

"a truly sumptuous duet on "Vida"

The fabulous singer and composer Fernando Jorge teams up with Fábia Rebordão for a truly sumptuous duet on "Vida", which also features the guitarwork of Custodio Castelo.  Jorge then appears alongside Ana Moura on another track "Por Um Dia".

The sampler rounds off with offerings of late night jazz from Karl Seglem ("Portugal"), two tracks by Citânia (one featuring Galician bagpiper Cristina Pato), and the bagpipes and drums of Gnomon on "Alvura" amongst other tracks.

I'll be blogging some more on the wealth of Portuguese talent in the weeks to come...

Glyn Phillips