Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Amália and Trane

When I wrote about The Art of Portuguese Fado by Celeste Rodrigues, the younger sister of legendary fadista Amália Rodrigues, I probably shorted Amália's ability to sing fado in a manner that gets to its essence as a folk music. Certainly, there are many tracks where she is working at fado's very roots.

Still, listening to Amália even then can be almost painful. She is so good it can be shocking. Her singing is so personal it can be uncomfortable, like you're intruding on someone in what should be a deeply private moment. The situation fairly mandates that you can't listen casually, but must do so intently.

The thought crossed my mind last night that it's very much like listening to Coltrane from Live at the Village Vanguard on (and maybe starting with My Favorite Things). The music is so intense and, later, so increasingly spiritual that it can't, or shouldn't, be approached lightly.

That said, I wouldn't be without either. I don't think it is going too far to say such music elevates the spirit, soul, whatever. But a little Gene Ammons, or Celeste Rodrigues, something closer to the ground, has its place, too.

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