Artist Profiles: Madredeus

Madredeus in 2000

Creating a distinctly modern Portuguese sound, Madredeus became one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful Portuguese bands in Europe. This Lisbon-based sextet’s music is steeped in Portuguese culture, informed by a wide range of musical influences and prized by audiences throughout Europe, Brazil, and Japan.

In 1985 Pedro Ayres Magalhaes, bassist of Herois do Mar and Rodrigo Leao, bassist of Sétima Legiao, began to mature the idea of making another type of music due to the fatigue caused by their involvement in the Portuguese pop scene.

During a break in the activities of their respective groups, Pedro and Rodrigo joined to rehearse some guitar repertoires. Pedro also presented some lyrics although they lacked a voice. They were joined by accordionist, Gabriel Gomes.

Soon, a cellist who was studying at the Lisbon Conservatory began to collaborate with them. However, they continued to lack a voice, because despite doing continuous auditions, they did not find one that fully satisfied them. One night, Rodrigo and Gabriel visited the Barrio Alto and discovered a young girl who sang a fado at a table with some friends. They immediately established contact. Everyone agreed that it was the voice they were looking for. So they started rehearsing together.

The rigors of winter forced them to look for a more welcoming place and that is how they ended up rehearsing in the convent of Madre de Deus, in Xabregas, east of Lisbon.
During 1987, Madredeus’s essays gradually transformed into a gathering of friends and musicians in which opinions and ideas were shared. The group remained nameless so those who frequented the rehearsals began to call them “Madredeus”.

Meanwhile, Pedro Ayres began to tempt the label with which he released the records of his previous group, with some recordings by the new group. At the same time, Rodrigo Leao began to experience a new sound, that of the synthesizer. His first work was recorded in the same rehearsal place. To make little noise the musicians played barefoot and had to stop the recording every time a heavy vehicle passed by, due to the noise. On November 30, the album was presented.

From there on, instrumental arrangements inspired by tradition, that sought to revive the interest and taste for the Portuguese language began to have more and more followers.

The first week of December of that year “Os Dias da Madredeus” was released. The album immediately became an assiduous presence on radios and newspapers and began to be an obligatory reference of Portuguese music.

In 1988, the group began to be constantly requested for more concerts in Portugal. That year was very important in consolidating the group in its own country. The following year, they had exceeded all initial expectations.

Two years later, Madredeus recorded the album Existir. For the first time in a studio. At that time they met Antonio Pinheiro da Silva who would continue with them as a producer on their first albums.

In 1991 they gave their first concert in Spain, where they would reap great successes. That same year, they recorded their first live work, Lisbon. EMI reissued the second work album.
In 1992 and in 1993 they had already traveled throughout European countries, America and Japan.

In 1994, after a short break after the frenzied activity of the previous year, the band started a relationship with Wim Wenders who was preparing a film about Lisbon, and wanted to use some Madredeus songs in the soundtrack. They flew to England to record some songs, and decided, to the delight of Wim Wenders, to create some of them expressly for the film. They came back with two albums instead of one. So the first of them was published in the spring under the title Espírito da Paz.

After several concerts, performing in places of great prestige, Rodrigo Leao left the group to dedicate himself to his solo career and was immediately replaced by Carlos María Trindade. He accompanied Madredeus on a long tour of Spain. Then they traveled around the world carrying their music. At the end they presented the songs of the soundtrack of the film in an album, the second that year, titled Ainda.

1996 was a year in which concerts and breaks and conversations were interspersed. A year later, Gabriel Gomes and Francisco Riveiro left the group. Bassist Fernando Judice replaced them. It was a new group that marked a new stage in the career of Madredeus.

In 1998 they recorded live O Paraiso, a trip throughout its musical career. During these two years they resumed their tours and continued to be successful all over the world.

Then came “Antologia“, a disc composed of travel notes brought from around the world. Images of moments, snapshots of emotions, some of Madredeus’ songs, built on dreams and landscapes, hopes and longings.

In November 2007, longtime vocalist Teresa Salgueiro left Madredeus.

Madredeus in 2012

In April 2012 Madredeus released Essencia and announced too its new lineup, featuring Beatriz Nunes (vocals), Pedro Ayres de Magalhães (guitar), Carlos Maria Trinidade (synthesizer), Jorge Varrecoso (violin), Antonio Figueirido (violin) and Luis Clode (cello).

Discography:

Os Dias Da Madredeus (EMI, 1987)
Existir (EMI, 1990)
Lisboa (EMI, 1992)
O Espírito Da Paz (EMI, 1994)
Ainda (EMI, 1995)
O Paraíso (EMI, 1997)
O Porto (EMI, 1998)
Movimento (EMI, 2001)
Euforia (Capitol Records, 2002)
Electronico (Capitol Records, 2002)
Um Amor Infinito (EMI, 2004)
Faluas Do Tejo (EMI Music Portugal, 2005)
Essência (Éter, 2012)
Capricho Sentimental (Éter, 2015)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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