One to watch: Ana Moura

The fado star is reinventing the ‘Portuguese blues’ again, this time mixing its emotional intensity with kizomba, samba and trap

Ana Moura is not a breaking artist by any stretch, but she continues to break with tradition. She’s one of Portugal’s biggest stars, a fado singer (or fadista) who has sold millions of records and is about to release her seventh album. She already did for fado what Rosalía did for flamenco as far back as 2012 – without hopping on a motorbike or the dance routines, mind – when she worked with Joni Mitchell producer Larry Klein and Prince on Desfado, thus revitalising fado for her generation. But now Moura is reinventing again, making alt.fado that is intriguing, layered and at home in the global-pop sphere while remaining distinct.

Casa Guilhermina, out now, is largely inspired by the Lisbon scene known as novo fado (new fado). At club nights and parties, local DJs and producers mix up traditional guitarra and samples from old fado classics with the music of the Afro-Lusophone diaspora, such as semba, Cape Verdean morna and the 80s electronic-geared kizomba, finding links with Afrobeats, Brazilian genres such as samba and the contemporary skitter of US trap.

Moura’s mother is Angolan, her father Portuguese, and this album is a bridge. Her robust, emotionally intense vocals (they don’t call fado the Portuguese blues for nothing) entwine with African rhythms and the contemporary production of novo fado up-and-comers Pedro Mafama and Pedro da Linha – a multicultural mix that suggests musical freedom. “It’s points of connection that interest me,” she has said, and her new music certainly has plenty to lock on to.

Casa Guilhermina is out now on Sony Music Portugal

Watch the video for Arraial Triste from Casa Guilhermina by Ana Moura.


Kate Hutchinson

The GuardianTramp

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