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Modinhas, songs of love and loss from the salons of Lisbon 200 years ago, are the forefathers of fado, the Portuguese national song-form that remains popular today. Both styles are concerned with the melancholy of love and loss, with ornate vocal lines and free instrumental accompaniment. But the modinhas are more wide-ranging in character, with a strain of lilting Afro-Brazilian melody that makes this excellently researched, performed and packaged album of songs and Portuguese instrumental music a revelation. Guitarist Žak Ozmo and his instrumental group L’Avventura London are joined by two Portuguese sopranos, Sandra Medeiros and Joana Seara, and their fervent – occasionally wild – singing is perfect for the intertwining lines and suggestive harmonies of the modinhas. Ozmo’s seven-piece ensemble slips with ease between minuets by composers such as Avondano and Leite and the swing of the Brazilian songs, with harpsichordist David Gordon’s playing particularly well judged. Ravishing on disc, this programme should be even more enjoyable live in concert.

Tim Woodall Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2012 - ©Rhinegold Publishing