Bau - Cape Verdean Melancholy
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Cape Verdean Melancholy
Evolver (

cd cover The unprecedented international success of Cape Verdean diva Cesaria Evora was due in no small part to her extraordinary singing style, but the input of the man who was her musical director cannot be overlooked. Rufino Almeida, who goes by the name of Bau, was the guiding hand of Evora's band from 1995 to 1998. His deft, delicate skill on acoustic guitar and the ukelele-like cavaquinho helped provide the emotional tug and sensual lilt so central to the morna and coladeira styles that are Evora's specialty. Derived from the fado music of the Portuguese who colonized the Cape Verde islands, those styles continue to define to some degree all music that emerges from Cape Verde. The unplugged instrumentals that comprise Cape Verdean Melancholy are a lovely blend of European sophistication, African rhythmic undercurrent and a sprinkling of influences from elsewhere (Spain, the Caribbean) that aptly show Bau's way with stringed instruments, including violin. There are moments when you expect the voice of Cesaria Evora or Fantcha or Maria Alice to chime in, but the wordless context possesses a frail beauty that is lyrical in its own way. The son of an instrument maker, Bau has likewise been crafting and playing from a very young age, and knows when to give feeling precedence over technical skill. He does, of course, have ample amounts of each, and on this disc they both show through. On originals and tunes penned by fellow Cape Verdeans (B. Leza, Tito Paris, Teofilo Chantre), Bau takes it fast and slow, easily moving from Strunz and Farah-like nimbleness to stately chamber music grace to classical finesse. Lovers of fine acoustic guitar work, instrumental music afficianados and those looking for music that's laid back without being dreary will savor this work by a world-class player and musical stylist. - Tom Orr

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