The crop of young fadistas currently singing have made Portugal's fado style a thing of international joy. On her third album (the first to be released in the U.S.), Mafalda Arnauth shows that among her contemporaries, she's the one with the most traditional heart. Having scored a Portuguese Top Ten hit with her last disc, she's certainly ready to go global, and there's no denying that, from the first note, the has the purity and emotion that fado demands of a singer. Unlike, say Mariza or Cristina Branco, who have both introduced new instruments and moods into the genre, Arnauth sticks to the classic backing of guitar, Portuguese guitar, and bass on her mix of vintage and new material the newer songs being firmly within the standards of the tradition. Exquisite as the backing is and there's no doubting the virtuosity of the musicians it's Arnauth's voice that is the centerpiece here. Liquid and limpid, it's a gorgeous thing, perfectly suited to fado, as evidenced on "Bendito Fado, Bendita Gente." Hers is a voice with depth; there's none of the shallowness of pop music here. At home she's already staked her claim as one of the great modern fadistas, and with this album, Ecantamento, she looks set to repeat that everywhere. Add to that her own crystalline production, and a very tasteful choice of songs, expressed in an almost perfect manner, and you have an artist who's keeping the flame of traditional fado burning very bright indeed.
01. As fontes (03:35) 02. Sem limite (03:30) 03. Pode lâ ser (02:39) 04. Bendito fado, bendito gente (04:28) 05. No teu poema (04:54) 06. Trova escondida (02:13) 07. Eu venho (03:17) 08. Cavalo à solta (03:15) 09. Porque não oiço no ar (02:53) 10. Da palma da minha mao (03:54) 11. Canção (02:55) 12. Ê sempre cedo (02:08) 13. Ó voz da minh'alma (04:18) 14. Fado arnauth (03:20)