Bau (Portuguese for "box") is the nom de disque of Cape Verdean string virtuoso Rufino Almeida.
Bau (Portuguese for "box") is the nom de disque of Cape Verdean string virtuoso Rufino Almeida. His lightning-fingered performances on violin, cavaquinho, and guitar have been heard on several of Cesaria Evora's albums, on which Bau played first as a member of the Mindel Band and then as music director to the barefoot diva. This, his second solo effort, little resembles the haunting morna style that Evora has popularized during the past decade. Instead, it sparkles with vivacious melodies and arrangements, suggesting a bluegrass variant developed as defense against the hardscrabble existence eked out by inhabitants of a volcanic landscape isolated in the Atlantic Ocean. Fittingly, Blimundo kicks off with a cover of legendary violinist Travadinha's "Jombo." (Travadinha was the island's answer to Stephane Grapelli.) Throughout, Bau's agile playing and cheerful inflections are probably best compared to the gypsy jazz associated with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Distributed by Harmonia Mundi.—RBH