Antonio Zambujo ‘Quinto’ (World Village) 4/5

Fado internationally is invariably associated with female singers which is an unfair and ultimately inaccurate depiction of the genre historically. One young singer who is contributing to reversing that stereotype is Antonio Zambujo and this latest effort is arguably his finest to date, breathing new life into the traditional format. His slightly nasal delivery actually reminds one of Brazilian living legend Caetano Veloso which is no bad thing and no more so than on the excellent ‘A casa fechada’/’Abandoned house’ which conjurs up a mjaor surprise with some delightful clarinet as well as on ‘Rua des meus ciûmes’/’There where jealousy lies’. Brazilian samba flavours emerge on the cavaquinho-led (translated as a ukelele, but actually with a slightly different sound and any parallels with George Formby are purely incidental and indeed illusory!). Elsewhere more traditional fado is found aplenty in numbers such as the uplifting ‘Fado desconcertado’/’Disconcerted fado’ and on the laid back jazziness of ‘Na(~)o vale mais um dia’/’A day is worth no more’. A beautifully packaged digipak features lyrics in Portugese, French and English which is helpful with the inner cover featuring the word ‘Quinto’ or ‘Fifth’ in numerous other languages. Those fans of Mariza will certainly find a kindred spirit here.

Tim Stenhouse