Words by Gonçalo Frota
Little by little, António Zambujo has been expanding his musical universe up to the point where it doesn’t really matter if it still falls into the fado category. Along with his bossa nova signature singing style – smoothly voicing gentle melodies over simple song designs – and his laidback jazz ambiences, he stretches a little bit further in Quinto. He welcomes African music more emphatically to his art, mainly through the elegant input from Cape-Verdean cavaquinho player Jon Luz.
Zambujo is instantly recognisable – no one really sounds like him. But he’s been carefully perfecting his craft, gathering around him an amazing consort of fellow musicians and contributors. The writing of Angolan novelist José Eduardo Agualusa and marvellous Portuguese poet Maria do Rosário Pedreira seems wholly in tune with the delicacy of Zambujo’s singing, which is especially fit for their small, endearing narratives. The greatest surprise in Quinto (named ‘Fifth’ not only because it is his fifth album, but also due to being recorded live with Zambujo’s touring quintet) is the couple of exquisite songs penned by Pedro da Silva Martins, Deolinda’s mastermind.
What’s more astounding in António Zambujo’s music is the fact that he makes it all sound unbelievably easy. When words come out of his mouth, you could swear he knows exactly where to push our buttons to move us with such a chilling effect. Very close to masterpiece status, Quinto is one gorgeous record, regardless of its lower fado percentage.
TRACK TO TRY: Algo Estranho Acontece