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Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff

Listen to a new CD of soulful Portuguese songs, watch tiny tough butterflies migrate south, see the president's flying office Air Force One from the inside, and more.

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soulful songs

Music of the broken heart is how some describe fado, the melancholy melodies of old Lisbon. Now their haunting strains are about to wash onto US shores with the release Jan. 27 of Terra, the fourth album of Portuguese singer Mariza, the new queen of fado. Almost single-handedly, she has revived the traditional form, while adding jazz and flamenco twists to create a new sound. "Beijo de Saudade" ("Kiss of Yearning") is one of the most beautiful songs in an album full of them.

Travel with monarchs

Every November, thousands of monarch butterflies migrate from Canada to Mexico. The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. on PBS NOVA, follows their poetic precision as scientists attempt to plumb the depths of these elegant creatures' navigational expertise. It examines the delicate balance between man and nature as the researchers try to grasp what these tiny but tough beings need to survive.

ageless a cappella

The simplicity of their harmonies – even if the language is unfamiliar – makes Ladysmith Black Mambazo loved the world over. The South African a cappella group is captured here in a 2008 concert in Akron, Ohio, singing with their familiar layered richness and energy. The DVD, Ladysmith Black Mambazo Live, (on sale Jan. 27) includes a gentle interview with founder Joseph Shabalala, who says, "The music itself is our home" and sums up the group's message as "only one thing: love."


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