Sofia Ribeiro & Gui Duvignau – Porto

The young vocalist is a powerful mezzo-soprano who has a supreme command of her three octave range... when the narrative or the emotion of the song’s character demands it then she cuts loose with spiralling flight and volume...

At first blush there appears to be an air of melancholy that wafts through this album, Porto by vocalist Sofia Ribeiro and bassist, Gui Duvignau. But this is only a fleeting one that and it although there appears to be a rather pointed focus on the downside of emotions; of love squandered and lost. In other words the album examines the deepest effects of a relationship between man and woman, unearthing things beautiful and no so beautiful and even though the word “Triste” does not appear in a song title or in the lyric, it pervades the air. Moreover the sense of “saudade” inhabits the nooks and crannies of the emotions. Why would it not? Longing is a prerequisite of love and Sofia Ribeiro knows that all too well. She sings with an air pregnant with possibility and the wisdom that all things must pass in life and love. The young vocalist is a powerful mezzo-soprano who has a supreme command of her three octave range. Although she appears reticent; almost diffident in her expression, when the narrative or the emotion of the song’s character demands it then she cuts loose with spiralling flight and volume, showing that she can explode with passion, which she is unafraid to do so. She has a gentle vibrato which she employs only sometimes and then it has a wondrous effect. Her annunciation is pure no matter if the volume she sings at is sometimes barely above a whisper. And when she has the freedom to improvise or sing a cadenza, her lines lope and spiral making the song look like a bird in tumbling flight.
On this album, she is never alone, figuratively speaking. Her consort is the bassist, Gui Duvignau, whose bass voice is equally clearly annunciated. The bassist plays like he is caressing the arias that Ribeiro sings. Thus he plays with soaring melodicism, sometimes flying so high it feels he could touch the sky. The bassist has a profound sense of lyricism and this is much to the benefit of the vocalist, who is undisturbed by his sometimes gruff missives. But Duvignau is always mindful of his petit nightingale and ensures that his metamorphosis takes place when the bird, Ribeiro, has paused for breath, or to conjure up another character or spirit. The program is exquisite and showcases not only Ribeiro’s voice, but also the range of her emotions and her breathtaking art. Specifically the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chico Buarque (“Retrato em Branco e Preto”), Toninho Horta and Ronaldo Bastos (“Viver de Amor”) and Roberto Menescal (“A Volta”) are perfect for this sultry session. The beautifully written and rendered—both as a solo vocal as well as with a chorus—“Era um Redondo Vocábulo” by Zeca Afonso is the highlight of the album. However, to celebrate this album without praise for Duvignau’s compositions would be a travesty. For the bassist’s musicality extends far beyond his ability to play the bass violin; he is a serious musician and a perfect partner for Sofia Ribeiro. Track Listing: 1. Playful Wings; 2. Indecisão; 3. Era Um Redondo Vocábulo; 4. Tempo; 5. Sonhos; 6. Com Que Voz; 7. Retrato em Branco e Preto; 8. Onda que Enrolada Tornas; 9. Viver de Amor; 10. Canção Desnecessária; 11. A Volta; 12. Era Um Redondo Vocábulo. Personnel: Sofia Ribeiro: voice; Gui Duvignau: double bass; João Salcedo: piano (1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 11); Leonardo Montana: piano (2, 7, 9); Thibault Perriard: drums (1, 5, 11); Mathieu Gramoli: drums (2, 7, 8, 9, 10); Luisa Viera: flutes(5); Luisa Viera, Mariana Almeida, Joana Castro, Diana Gonçalves, Joana Araujo, Nuno Malheiro, Manual Linhares, Tiago Simães, Ricardo Baptista, Alexandre Quinteiro: voices (12). Sofia Ribeiro's website: Label: Self Produced Release date: May 2010 Tags: Raul da Gama,Sofia Ribeiro,Gui Duvignau,João Salcedo,Leonardo Montana,Thibault Perriard,Mathieu Gramoli,Luisa Viera,Mariana Almeida,Joana Castro,Diana Gonçalves,Joana Araujo,Nuno Malheiro,Manual Linhares,Tiago Simães,Ricardo Baptista,Alexandre Quinteiro,Porto,