Música para Poesia Luso-Árabe e Poesia Medieval Portuguesa
If it is no exaggeration to say that what we presumptuously call “Western” culture is owed in large measure to the Andalusian enlightenment then equally it is no exaggeration to say that much of what we call Latin music is also owed to the Arabs who made that Andalusian enlightenment possible. On Belo Manto Sofia Vitória & José Peixoto give musical credit – ever so brilliantly – where credit has long been due. For Belo Manto: Música para Poesia Luso-Árabe e Poesia Medieval Portuguesa is an album of songs based on the lyric poetry of Luso-Arab writers from the Middle Ages. These include giants of the Andalus literature of the period – Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Ammar, Muhammad ibn Abbad al-Mu’tamid, Abu-L-Qâsim Ibn Al-Milh, Ibn Darrâj Al-Qastalli and Abu Mohammed Abd al-Majid ibn Abdun al-Yaburi. Also included are selections from the Poet-King, Dom Dinis, Fernando Esquino and other Portuguese bards.
If Miss Vitória created a magical recording of Fernando António Nogueira Pessoa’s (Fernando Pessoa’s) work on Echoes: Fernando Pessoa English Poetry & Prose (2016) and Palavra de Mulher featuring music by Brasil’s great lyric genius, Chico Buarque (Numérica, 2012/Sintoma, 2014) with Luís Figueiredo, on Belo Manto She is at the height of her powers. In fact, even if she never made another album relied on this 2017 album alone, she will have done enough to secure her place at the very top of the list of modern European vocal musicians. These ravishing performances features the radiant soprano with the guitarist José Peixoto, bandolim player Luís Peixoto, bassist Carlos Barretto and percussion colourist Quiné Teles.
Miss Vitória clearly relishes lyric poetry and song in a way that few others of her time (or earlier) do and have done. She is at her most vivid and dramatic in these pieces based on medieval lyric poetry, displaying a special affinity, it would seem for Luso-Arab work written at the time when the Iberian Peninsula was the Ornament of the World. Miss Vitória’s profoundly incisive and intelligent singing underpins these telling vocal excursions with unaffected simplicity and eloquence. The manner in which she frames songs such as “Primavera – Lua, Que Tens?” with unsurpassed luxuriance and her utterances is magnificently framed in turn by the joyful immediacy of José Peixoto’s fingerwork on the classical guitar. Of course all of the other songs also receive terrific performances as well. And the arrangements also make for an ideal balance between sophistication and rawness, a certain neutrality of interpretation that will bear repeated listening, all the time never betraying the spiritual and emotional roots of this music.
Track list – 1: Não Será por Mim? (Ibn Ammâr – Séc. XI); 2: Encanto (Al-Mu’tamid – Séc. XI); 3: Moiro D’Amor (Dom Dinis – Séc. XIII-XIV); 4: Vaiamos, Irmana (Fernando Esquio – Séc XIII-XIV); 5: O Jardim (Abu-L-Qâsim Ibn Al-Milh – Séc IX-X); 6: Primavera – Lua, Que Tens? (Ibn Darrâj Al-Qastalli – Séc X-XI); 7: Cantiga, Partindo-se (João Roiz de Castelo-Branco – Séc XV); 8: Noite – Outubro 3 (Ibn Abdun – Séc XI); 9: Nas Ondas (Martin Codax – Séc XIII); 10: A Árvore da Vida; 11: Fontana Fria (Pero Meogo – Séc XIII); 12: Belo Manto (Al-Mu’tamid – Séc XI)
Personnel – Sofia Vitória: voice; José Peixoto: classical guitar; Luís Peixoto: bandolim, bouzouki and sanfona; Carlos Barretto: contrabass; Quiné Teles: percussion
Released – 2017
Label – Belo Manto (17101)
Runtime – 51:27