If you've been wondering where Badi Assad's been for the last seven years (her previous disc, Wonderland, released in 2006), wonder no longer: she gave birth to her daughter Sofia and decided to devote her time fully to raising her progeny. With 20 years in the public eye and 10 albums behind her, it was time for another adventure. Now that Sof's hit the age of reason, mom's back with a gatherum of all-new all-original tunes released on her own label and featuring not just the vivacious vocalese she's been long famed for but also that deft acumen on guitar which earned her a slot on Rolling Stone's list of the top 100 guitarists.
That recognition is in no way mistaken as each cut here amply demonstrates. Interestingly, Assad has such a light touch that her playing sounds frequently like a finger-picked dulcimer and more than once I was minded of John Martyn's wondrous work within his own realm. There's more than a little justice in that comparison, as, though she's distinctly Brazilian in most of her oeuvre (trad, modern, and then futuristic a la Azymuth) cuts like To Reach my Heart (tons of that Azymuth sound woven all through it) link intimately to more northern modern balladic traditions. Too, Catch is just pure fun and joy, crossing many borders while kicking up its heels. Even beyond that, Badi's quite the poetesse, and, when the mood strikes, waxes rather earthy:
Spicy little moments
Couples become distant
Spicy Little moments of modern
I know more than few readers out there understand those stanzas perfectly, hm? Most of the tracks are are written and sung in Assad's native tongue, one's a very brief segue instrumental (Vinheta Noite), another bounces back and forth 'twixt English and…Portuguese?…Spanish?…with the remainder in English. Quarto da Rainha, though, kinda shows that none of that really much matters, as inflection, emotion, and empathy can override everything when done correctly…though that "correctly" probably has no real precedents here, as Assad attains to a rather distinctive wrinkle in this respect. Given this disc as indication, I doubt we'll be seeing any more long hiatuses from a woman who's proving she's just as fresh as the day she burst upon the scene…and more so.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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