Carminho ‘Canta Tom Jobim’ (Warner Portugal) 4/5

Portugese fado and Brazilian bossa nova are normally perceived as entirely separate music forms, though of course the historical links between the two countries go back several centuries. To this writer’s knowledge, this is the first project to devote itself entirely to fado interpretations of the Jobim songbook, though there must surely exist other individual songs of Jobim that have been recorded by fado singers over time.
Twenty-eight year old singer Carminhohas largely remained faithful to the originals, but cleverly reflected on how this can be adapted to the fado idiom, and invited some major league Brazilian singers who know exactly how Jobim should be sung and performed. To assist greatly in proceedings, the authentic Brazilian instrumentation of Jobim family members Paulo on guitar and Daniel on piano with Paulo Braga on drums and the magnificent cello and arrangements of Jacques Morelenbaum adds a dose of Carioca magic.
The pairing of Carminho with Marisa Monte works best of all and in, ‘Estrada do sol’, you have a potential hit single for the lusophone market. This surely calls for a duet project. Monte’s voice is not unlike the purity of sound that emanates from Gal Costa and it is the sheer vulnerability here that is so emotive and appealing. Jobim has always been a master of the melancholic and this is beautifully illustrated on, ‘Falando do amor’, where Carminho duets with the poet-singer-songwriter extraordinaire, Chico Burque. For uplifting music, the opener, ‘A felicidade’ could hardly be bettered and, ‘O grande amor’ is virtually as enticing. A gorgeous piano intro to the classic, ‘Wave’, is embellished by some beautiful harmony vocals. This project is no less than a musical love letter to Tom Jobim and one can but imagine Tom somewhere in heaven, probably dancing a little samba to the music.

Tim Stenhouse