Fado, the ancient, bittersweet Portuguese folk music, has been enjoying a resurgence of popularity recently, and Ana Moura is one of its key contemporary artists. The combination of her rich, dusky voice and ability to convey complex emotions with an extensive palette of vocal feints, sighs, and elegant filigrees is perfect for expressing saudade, the ambivalent, longing spirit at the heart of fado. "It's so sad, this joy of mine/Oh, it's so joyful, this deep sadness" she sings, in Portuguese, her passion laced with surprising alacrity on the title track of her groundbreaking new album, Desfado. While sticking to the traditional essence of fado and employing veteran fado musicians Ângelo Freire and Pedro Soares, Moura nudges fado into the 21st century, relying on younger songwriters, U.S. pop producer Larry Klein, and an array of L.A. studio vets, plus guest shots by Herbie Hancock and Tim Ries. She also sings a handful of tunes in English, including a fine cover of Joni Mitchell's saudadesque "A Case of You." Live, Freire and Soares will lead the Portuguese quintet backing Moura.
Sun., March 24, 7 p.m., 2013