Ana Moura | City Winery | International | Chicago Reader

Ana Moura Recommended Member Picks Soundboard Image

When: Sat., March 23, 8 p.m. 2013

Portuguese singer Ana Moura has been a primary force in the revitalization of fado, becoming a global star by staying true to style's fundamentals: sorrowful intensity and lean instrumentation. Though she's stretched the fado repertoire, enlisting poets and composers to write her songs, she's cleaved to the traditional sound: voice, acoustic guitar, Portuguese guitar, and double bass. On the new Desfado (Decca), however, folk-pop producer Larry Klein has polished Moura's sound for mainstream audiences, adding drums, keyboards, and on one track the watery soprano saxophone of Tim Ries. (For the first time she also includes a few English-language songs.) It's to Moura's credit that she survives this treatment largely unscathed. Bassist David Piltch and drummer Jay Bellerose, the American rhythm section on the album, are smart and skilled enough to keep their accompaniment almost weightless, so that the group’s sound continues to be defined by the Portuguese guitar of Moura's regular bandmate Angelo Freire. With her jazz-grade phrasing and the burred edge of her precise, beautiful voice, Moura nails an unlikely cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," and David Poe's moody "Thank You" fits nicely with her bittersweet temperament. Aside from these two covers and Moura's bland English-language original "Dream of Fire" (which includes a superfluous electric-piano solo by Herbie Hancock), the songs are classic-sounding fados from Portugal, and she sings them with typical mastery. She's touring with a Portuguese band that includes a drummer and keyboardist. —Peter Margasak

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