Jose Maria, singer songwriter, performs traditional and contemporary Portuguese music with a strong influence from his many travels in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Americas. As a solo artist or with his band The Clinch Fado Boys, Jose presents a unique musical perspective that is purely "Portuguese". Jose's musical narratives touch on themes such as home, journey, loss and fulfilment.With his time-honored sense of story telling, Jose offers beautiful Latin melodies as well as raucous and driving rhytms. His songbook encompasses traditional Portuguese songs as well as American standards with a touch of the obscure, at once familiar and always distinctive.
Reviewed by Kyrby Raine
They call it “Portuguese blues” but Jose Maria could be world music’s answer to Bob Dylan. Most of Maria’s lyrics may be in Portuguese (the lone exception being “She Never Cries”), but his music is about as American as it gets. We’re talking roots rock with an acoustic bent, further illuminated by piano, accordion, and organ. Understanding Maria’s lyrics isn’t a problem because he has thoughtfully included their English translations on the sleeve. In fact, I prefer hearing Maria sing in his native language; there is a beauty to his phrasings that is soothing to the ears.
“Maria Fala” has sharp band interplay, and Maria’s voice is rich and powerful. His lyrics are incredibly romantic: “I’ll call you instead mirror/Where I hope one day to see my self.” Such poetic imagery is a rare find in these ironic, stream-of-consciousness days. It’s no wonder that Maria made sure the English lyrics were included; his words are so beautiful, and it’d be a shame if the song’s truly meanings were lost on the listener.
The acoustic, stark riffs of “Naquela Estrada” display Maria’s gift for playing the guitar. However, Maria’s skills aren’t about showing off technical abilities; they set moods and paint pictures that, no matter what the words are, ease the tired soul. Wonderful stuff.