In the short prologue to Sempre, Katia Guerreiro professes her faith in fado (traditional Portuguese genre), thus enhancing the meaning of the rest of the album. For her tenth LP, she chose José Mario Branco, the emblematic author-composer who opposed Salazar’s dictatorship, as the artistic director. As such, Sempre is more aligned one aspect of fado than another: the fight for a better future rather than a submission to fatalism.

Katia Guerreiro is an intellectual by profession, an ophthalmologist to be exact, and she claims the roots of fado without ever over-playing it, sticking to its codes with sensitivity and personality. It is a demanding musical genre for singers and accompanists. On Sempre, the instruments (guitarra portuguesa, viola and viola-baixo) are played by big names who deliver lengthy preludes, providing harmonic and rhythmic support. One of the secrets of fado is on display here: dynamic, hallucinatory sting layers.

“Aqui,” originally by Joao Mario Veiga, is a “fado rigoroso” (strict example of the genre) and Guerreiro delivers vocals that give off a sublime naturalness. We also love “Fora de Cena,” composed over poems by the actress and poet Manuela de Freitas and “Deixar -te um dia,” a fado mouraria (from the Mouraria district of Lisbon) that carries the distinctive stamp of Alfredo Marceneiro himself.


Katia Guerreiro – Sempre (Viavox)

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