Signal To Noise (magazine) (p.49) - "[I]t's another gorgeous and inventive album from one of the most fertile imaginations in world music-jazz fusion."
Personnel: Rabih Abou-Khalil (oud); Ricardo Ribeiro (vocals); Luciano Biondini (accordion); Michel Godard (serpent, tuba, bass instrument); Jarrod Cagwin (drums, frame drum, percussion); Walter Quintus.
Oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil has been known to mix and match various ethnic strains, but in the case of Em Portugues, he's outdone himself. The music has the obvious Middle Eastern tinge you would expect, but also sounds more like a head-on collision of fado and Hasidic or klezmer music underneath heavily sexual Brazilian sounds. What is most striking is that what Abou-Khalil has concocted sounds nothing like any of these distinct musics individually, but more a brand-new hybrid that only he could provide a definition for. It's a powerful, driving, feverish sound that speaks a strong emotional language, due primarily to the pronounced singing of Ricardo Ribeiro. In fact, Ribeiro is so confidently powerful that he may seem arrogant, especially when you read the translation to the lyrics of the lusty "Amarrado … Saudade" or "No Mar Das Ruas Pernas." He can also express abject regret, as heard on "Ja Nao d Como Esta," where his traditional old-fashioned life is ruined by modernism, or "A Lua Num Quarto," which expresses complete lonely isolation. Then you have reflections on the game of life during "Jogo da Vida," lost youth never revived for "Adolescencia Perdida," and the value of love's smile on the touching "Quando Te Vejo Sorrir." This is more Ribeiro's than Abou-Khalil's album, but once again the brilliant sound engineer Walter Quintus balances all of the musicians to give the CD a live, one-and-only-one-take feeling. A recording for specific tastes and the leader's fans, it certainly gives food for thought as to what will be the next move from the brilliant bandleader and single-minded world musician, who continues to be in a class by himself. ~ Michael G. Nastos