Novas Vos Trago
Tradisom/Portugal (

This is a collection of music that focuses on the Romanciero, a narrative poetic form that thrived on the Iberian peninsula in the 15th and 16th centuries. These ancient poems are recreated in fascinating new ways, with a modern, global perspective, by a number of singers and ensembles from Portugal. Perhaps the whole feel of the record is best captured by Gaiteiros de Lisboa, a group of polyphonic singers, bagpipe, woodwind and percussion players that has a powerfully Medieval center, while presenting a cutting edge performance of sharp contrasts, quick changes of tempo, and roaring waves of pure sound. Brigada Victor Jara presents a folk revivalist sound, sweet and simple, presenting these poems as romantic artifacts performed on guitars, accordions and violin.

Amelia Muge Singer Amélia Muge takes her clearly Medieval songs into the realm of theater, using crumhorns and brass to present a sound that echoes Brecht as much as Shakespeare. The song we have online, "Donzela Guerreira" (Maiden Warrior),
includes members of the Gaiteiros de Lisboa in one of the most richly ornamented songs on the recording; strong rhythms, fantastic backing vocals to complement her own strong and beautiful voice and a wonderful arrangement of this old European ballad.

Singer songwriter João Afonso is featured on a number of songs in a simple two guitar accompaniment. Singer and guitarist Sérgio Godhinho rounds out the set with a regal, semi-classical art music that reflects Brazil's tropicalismo, mixing many aspects of African and European music into songs that epitomize the romantic theme of the record. While there is an extensive set of notes in English to go with this set, it is quite dense and academic. The music speaks far better of the depth of the tradition and the talent of these artists. - CF

Audio © 1999 Tradisom. Used by express permission

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