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Diva Cristina Branco to sing fado in Hong Kong

Diva Cristina Branco reaches deep into the heart and soul with her dramatic rendition of fado. Currently Portugal's hottest new fado star, the singer will present two concerts on October 20 and 21 as the opening week special presentation of the upcoming Mediterranean Arts Festival.

Praised by The New York Times: "Her voice swooped, shimmered and boiled over as it coaxed every last emotional nuance from the material".

Branco has redefined the bittersweet musical tradition, using the texts of Portuguese poets as lyrics, while retaining its beauty and essential form. With a background in pop, she has also reinvigorated fado through her choice and interpretation of songs, making her music accessible to all ages. Some critics have already likened her to fado queen Amalia Rodrigues.

In her Hong Kong debut, Cristina Branco, accompanied by band members Ricardo Dias (piano), Bernardo Couto (Portuguese guitar), Alexandre Silva (acoustic guitar) and Fernando Maia (acoustic bass guitar), will perform a number of fado classics made famous by Rodrigues, including Tive um coracao perdi-o and Ai Maria, as well as works by Alain Oulman who often composed for Rodrigues.

Cristina Branco grew up in Almeirim in Ribatejo region. She was interested in folk music, jazz, and blues but not in fado. On her 18th birthday, her grandfather gave her the album Rara e Inedita by fado queen Rodrigues. Branco, an amateur singer at that time, was struck by traditional fado's range and depth of emotions which revolves around suffering, melancholy and impotence in the face of fate. She did not seek a total break with the past but used her beautiful alto and contemporary vision to breathe fresh life into the genre. Working with guitarist and composer Custodio Castelo who also came from Almeirim, Branco began to mix traditional fado with other themes and folk songs, blending the verses of the best Portuguese poets as lyrics, forging a superb new fado experience. Her albums include Live, Sensus and Ulisses.

Cristina Branco will perform on October 20 and 21 (Saturday and Sunday) at 8 pm at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Concert Hall.

Tickets priced at $380, $300, $200 and $120 are available at URBTIX outlets. Half-price tickets are available for full-time students, senior citizens, people with disabilities and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance recipients. Booking discounts of up to 20% are available.

Programme brochures are now available at URBTIX outlets or at the website .

For programme enquiries, please call 2370 1044. Telephone reservations can be made on 2734 9009 and credit card telephone bookings on 2111 5999. Internet bookings can be made at .

Ends/Wednesday, October 3, 2007

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