I bought this not really knowing what it was. The cover made me curious, and I'd recently visited the famous Convento de Cristo in Tomar (Portugal) where some of this music was recorded. Verdict? This is a fantastic double CD!
CD 1 is a live concert recording with an enthusiastic audience and CD 2 was recorded in various settings around the Convento de Cristo. Dulce Pontes' voice is strong, attractive and very expressive and has an exuberance I really enjoy. Here she sings a range of material (fado, traditional and her own compositions), accompanied by guitar, cello, flute and choir. While some tracks are quite melancholy, overall both CDs have an upbeat feel. The sound quality is very good and the vocal/instrumental balance seems just right.
For me the standout tracks are:
1) Folclore, a traditional song with an Middle Eastern feel which appears on both CDs in different mixes;
2) Ha festa na Mouraria, a peaceful song by Pontes to the Virgin Mary which likewise appears on both CDs;
3) Uma caixa de po, a sweet/sad song by Pontes on CD 2; and
4) A charola, the instrumental opening to CD 2.
I also really enjoyed the energy of Resineiro (CD 1) and Tenho uma casa no sul (CD 2). All song lyrics and recording details are included in the program notes (Portuguese and Spanish, unfortunately no English).
I'd certainly get another of Dulce Pontes' CDs. Also, before listening to this I hadn't much enjoyed fado and I'm now interested in hearing more.
Final note: do visit the Convento de Cristo if you get the chance, it's an interesting and beautiful place and Tomar is a pretty little town.