Carlos do Carmo ‘Fado e amor (duets album)’ (Universal Portugal) 4/5

Carlos do CarmoFado singers on the international stage tend invariably to be women, yet one of Portugal’s greatest exponents of the country’s unique take on the blues is Carlos do Carmo who has been recording for several decades. This latest release celebrates his craft with an entire album of duets including a posthumous one with Carmo’s mother who was a renowned singer in her time. The sheer emotion of do Carmo’s voice is showcased on the pairing with Mariza on ‘Julia florista’ while a more playful form of fado is to be found on the duet with Ana Moura on ‘Novo fado alegre’ (New happy fado). One of the strongest songs is ‘Lisboa oxala'(I wish, Lisbon) which is a gentle shuffling number with pure, sweet voice of Carminho working wonders. Throughout do Carmo is accompanied by a crack band comprising acoustic bass, guitar and viola de fado. At under forty minutes, the album is short in length, but that is typical of the genre and the quality of musicianship makes up for the paucity of time. Lyrics to all the songs are contained in the booklet, but in Portugese only. Tim Stenhouse