Tag Archives: António Zambujo

The Passionate Story of Fado

Fado star Mariza

Fado music is the heart of the Portuguese soul. It is one of the oldest urban folk music styles in the world. Some say it came as a dance from Africa in the 19th century and was adopted by the poor on the streets of Lisbon. Or perhaps it started at sea as the sad, melodic songs created by homesick sailors and fishermen.

Whatever its origins, fado’s themes have remained constant: destiny, betrayal in love, death and despair. A typical lyric goes: “Why did you leave me, where did you go? I walk the streets looking at every place we were together, except you’re not there.” It’s a sad music and a fado performance is not successful if an audience is not moved to tears.

All fado is dominated by the sentiment known as saudade. While there is no precise English definition for this word, it may be translated roughly as ‘yearning.’ Essentially it describes the soul of the music and is the measure of understanding that passes between performer and audience.


Cover of A Origem do Fado by José Alberto Sardinha

Fado History

By the early twentieth century, fado had become popular in the everyday life of Lisbon’s working class. It was played for pleasure but also to relieve the pain of life. Skilled singers known as fadistas performed at the end of the day and long into the night. Fado was the earthy music of taverns and brothels and street corners in Alfama and Mouraria, the old poor sections of Lisbon. (Another strain of fado, Coimbra fado, was favored among university students and professors.)

The fado is normally sung by men or women and accompanied by one Portuguese guitar and one classical guitar, which in Portugal is called viola. This song reached its golden era in the first half of the 20th century, when the Portuguese dictatorship of Salazar (1926-1968) forced the fado performers to become professional and confined them to sing in the fado houses and the so called “revistas”, a popular genre of “vaudeville”.

The main names of that period were: Alfredo Marceneiro, Amalia Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha and guitar players Armandinho and Jaime Santos.


The Queen of Fado Amalia Rodrigues

From the 1940s until her death in 1999, the towering figure of Portuguese fado was Amalia Rodrigues. She was the diva of fado, worshiped at home and celebrated abroad as the most famous representative of Portuguese culture. When she died the country’s prime minister called for three-days of national mourning. Such is the hold of fado over the people of Portugal.

Saudade

The essential element of fado music is saudade, a Portuguese word that translates roughly as longing, or nostalgia for unrealized dreams. Fado flowers from this fatalistic world-view. It speaks of an undefined yearning that can’t be satisfied. For Portuguese emigrants fado is an expression of homesickness for the place they left behind.

Like other forms of deeply moving folk music such as flamenco, American blues, Argentine tango or Greek rembetiko, fado cannot be explained; it must be felt and experienced. One must have the soul to transmit that feeling; a fadista who does not possess saudade is thought of as inauthentic. Audiences are very knowledgeable and very demanding. If they do not feel the fadista is up to form they will stop a performance.

Duarte at EXIB 2016 in Evora – Photo by Angel Romero

Fado can be performed by men or women, although many aficionados prefer the raw emotion of the female fadista. Dressed in black with a shawl draped over her shoulders, a fadista stands in front of the musicians and communicates through gesture and facial expressions. The hands move, the body is stationary. When it is done correctly, it is a solemn and majestic performance.

Carminho

Aside from the Lisbon fado there is another completely different form of this song, sung by the students of Coimbra University whose ancient roots can be found in the medieval songs called trovas. Here the subjects are mainly love, friendship and nostalgia. This form of fado reached its most famous period in the 1950s and 1960s when names like Edmundo Bettencourt, Luis Gois, José Afonso and the musicians Artur Paredes, Carlos Paredes and Antonio Portugal among others, combined new forms and lyrics to a song which was limited to student circles.

Fado guitarist Antonio Chainho playing the Portuguese guitar – Photo by Alexandre Nobre

The traditional accompaniment for the fadista is a Portuguese guitar, or guitarra, a 12-stringed instrument, and a bass guitar, or viola. Sometimes a second acoustic guitar is added. In recent years, fado recordings have added piano, violin and accordion, instruments which sometimes accompany the music on the streets of Lisbon.

Fado Today


Cover of the album New Queens of Fado (Arc Music, 2016), featuring Joana Amendoeira, Ana Moura, Carminho, Mariza, Cristina Branco, Katia Guerreiro, Mafalda Arnauth, Misia

Today the younger generation in Portugal is respectful but not dedicated to fado. However, a new generation of young musicians have contributed to the social and political revival of fado music, adapting and blending it with new trends.

Contemporary fado musicians like Misia have introduced the music to performers such as Sting. Misia and fadistas like Cristina Branco and Mariza, Amelia Muge, Antonio Zambujo, Ana Lains, Ana Moura, Joana Amendoeira, Katia Guerreiro, Mafalda Arnauth, walk the fine line between carrying on the tradition and trying to bring in a new audience.

Cover of the album Queens Of Fado – The Next Generation (Arc Music, 2017) featuring Cuca Roseta, Yolanda Soares, Carminho, Raquel Tavares, Gisela João, Claudia Aurora, Carla Pires and Joana Rios

One of the biggest names in the new generation of male fado singers is award-winning Marco Rodrigues.

2018 saw the rise of a new fado revelation, Sara Correia, who released her debut album Sara Correia.

(Sources: World Music Central, World Music Institute, World Music Network)

Coimbra Fado

Coimbra Fado is a genre of fado originating in the city of Coimbra, Portugal. This fado is closely linked to the academic traditions of the University of Coimbra and is exclusively sung by men; both the singers and musicians wear black capes during performances, the remaining part of the students outfit. It is sung at night, almost in the dark, in city squares, streets, or fado houses. (source: Fado group Verdes Anos)

Recommended Fado Recordings

Portugal: The Story of Fado
Fado: Exquisite Passion
The Rough Guide to Fado
Queens of Fado
Fados from Portugal
Great Voices of Fado
Queen of the Fado by Amalia Rodrigues
Rough Guide: The Music of Portugal
Queens Of Fado – The Next Generation

Fado Artists:

The following artists perform fado or fado-influenced music: Ala Dos Namorados, Almaplana, Amélia Muge, Ana Laíns, Ana Marina, Ana Moura, Antonio Chainho, Antonio Zambujo, Armenio de
Melo, Bicho de 7 cabeças, Camané, Catarina Cardeal, Cristina Branco, Custodio Castelo, Duarte, Grupo Cancao de Coimbra, Joana Amendoeira, Jorge Fernando, Katia Guerreiro, Lula Pena, Mario Pacheco, Madredeus, Mafalda Arnauth, Maria Amelia Proen, Mariza, Melian, Mike Siracusa, Misia, Nem Truz Nem Muz), Ramana Vieira, Sonia Tavares, Teresa Salgueiro, Verdes Anos – Fado group, Cuca Roseta, Yolanda Soares, Raquel Tavares, Gisela João, Claudia Aurora, Carla Pires, Marco Rodrigues, Joana Rios, and Sara Correia.

Fado Books:

A History of the Portuguese Fado by Paul Vernon (Routledge, 1998)
Fado Portugues – Songs from the Soul of Portugal by Donald Cohen (2004)
Fado and the Place of Longing, Loss, Memory and the City by Richard Elliott (Routledge, 2010)
A Origem do Fado [includes 4 CDs] by José Alberto Sardinha (Tradisom, 2010)
Fado Resounding: Affective Politics and Urban Life by Lila Ellen Gray (Duke University Press, 2013)
Fado and the Urban Poor in Portuguese Cinema of the 1930s and 1940s by Michael Colvin (Boydell & Brewer, 2016)

Fado sites:

Portal do Fado, Portuguese portal dedicated to fado.

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Notable World Music Programming at Savannah Music Festival 2018

The Savannah Music Festival has announced the world music artists set to perform in 2018. The festival next year will take place March 29th through April 14th, 2018, at a number of venues throughout Savannah’s Historic District.

As usual, the festival selected first rate world music acts. Mali’s Trio Da Kali will share a bill with South African guitarist Derek Gripper (a kora music practitioner).

Malian kora maestro Toumani Diabaté is set to perform with his son Sidiki Diabaté in A World of Strings, an original production also including Brazilian music played by Savannah Music Festival Associate Artistic Director and mandolinist Mike Marshall and pianist Jovino Santos Neto (who will also play a solo show).

 

Diego El Cigala – Photo by Anya Bartels Suermondt

 

Iberian sounds include the great Dominican Republic-based Spanish flamenco singer Diego El Cigala and Portuguese fado singer António Zambujo.

Cellist Mike Block will perform with fellow Silk Road Ensemble musician Sandeep Das on tabla.

The festivals’ Latin Dance Party features the unrivaled Cuban son ensemble, Septeto Santiaguero.

Festival favorites Lúnasa (Ireland) and Tim O’Brien will team up for a concert of Irish and Appalachian-influenced music.

Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas play on a double bill with an electrifying new all-female acoustic music quartet called The Goodbye Girls.

For ticket information and the rest of the programming, including classical music, American roots music, jazz, theatrical productions and films, visit www.savannahmusicfestival.org.

headline photo: Septeto Santiaguero with El Canario

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Artist Profiles: António Zambujo

António Zambujo

Portugal’s fado sensation António Zambujo has been a major voice in recent years in the resurrection of male fado singers in a genre dominated by females. Renowned for his earthy and atmospheric songs, he speaks of the pain of separation, unanswered love, and longing — themes portrayed in this poetic, deeply expressive genre. Winner of the Amália Rodrigues Foundation prize for ‘Best Fado Male Singer,’ Zambujo merges traditional fado with cante alentejano (male chant form from southern Portugal with North African influences) and Brazilian popular music.

António Zambujo, born in Beja, Alentejo in southern Portugal in 1975, grew up listening to cante alentejano – a traditional male chant that has become a strong influence in his music.

As a child, Zambujo studied clarinet, but soon became entranced with fado. He won a regional fado contest at the age of 16, and then began his professional career when Mário Pacheco, the renowned Portuguese guitarist and composer, invited him to sing in his Club de Fado in Lisbon. Soon afterwards, Zambujo was chosen to take the role of Francisco da Cruz, Amália Rodrigues’s first husband, in the successful musical Amália directed by Filipe La Féria, one of Portugal’s leading stage directors; Zambujo performed in the musical for four years in Lisbon and then toured with it in Portugal, achieving enormous success.

After recording his first album O mesmo fado in 2002, Zambujo won the prestigious ‘Radio Nova FM’ prize for the ‘Best New Fado Voice’ – an award previously received by Mariza, Camané and Mafalda Arnauth. Since then he has recorded several more albums.

In recent years Zambujo has collaborated with the Bulgarian women’s choir Angelite and top Portuguese pop and jazz singers, expanding the horizons of traditional fado while remaining committed to its roots.

Discography:

O mesmo fado (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004O0UZI4?ie=UTF8&tag=musidelmund-20&camp=1789&linkCode=xm2&creativeASIN=B004O0UZI4, 2002)
Por meu Cante (World Village, 2004)
Outro Sentido (World Village, 2007)
Guia (World Village, 2010)
Quinto (Universal Portugal, 2012)
Lisboa 22:38 – Ao Vivo no Coliseu (2013)
Rua Da Emenda (World Village, 2014)
Até Pensei Que Fosse Minha (2016)

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Fado Star António Zambujo to Perform in London

António Zambujo
António Zambujo

Acclaimed fado artist António Zambujo is set to perform on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at Union Chapel in London. Stranger Stranger will be the supporting act.

António Zambujo is fado vocalist and Portuguese guitar player. He was raised listening to Cante Alentejano, a regional genre that inspired him while growing up in Beja, Portugal. At the age of eight he studied clarinet at the Baixo Alentejo Regional Conservatory. At that time, Zambujo becae fascinated with fado. He was shaped by Amália Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha, Alfredo Marceneiro, João Ferreira Rosa, Max and others. He regularly sang for his family and friends and won a local fado contest at the age of 16.

After completing his clarinet studies, Zambujo moved to Lisbon. Mário Pacheco, the renowned Portuguese guitar player and composer, straightway added him to his company at the prestigious Clube do Fado in the Alfama neighborhood.

Zambujo’s discography includes O mesmo Fado (2002), Por meu Cante (World Village, 2004), Outro Sentido (World Village, 2007), Guia (World Village, 2010), Quinto (World Village, 2012), Lisboa 22:38 – Ao Vivo no Coliseu (Universal Music, 2013), Rua Da Emenda (2014) and Até Pensei Que Fosse Minha (Universal Music, 2016).

Zambujo won the prestigious Amália Rodrigues Foundation award as best male fado singer in 2006. He has toured comprehensively in Europe and South America, including several sold-out concerts in Paris and Rio de Janeiro.

Union Chapel
Compton Terrace
London
N1 2UN
020 7226 1686
unionchapel.org.uk

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