Fado Festival NY & NJ 2019 will offer an exciting representation of fado’s past, present and future. The festival will present four of fado’s biggest names: Camané, Hélder Moutinho, Ana Sofia Varela, and Maria Emília, as well as the fado-inspired Unites States- based Portuguese jazz singer Sofia Ribeiro.
festival will take place May 1 – 11. It includes daytime and evening shows, all
free and open to the public, from May 1 to 4 at Brookfield Place, a state-of-the-art
venue for cultural programming in New York City. The following weekend, Fado
Festival NY&NJ travels to the historical center of fado in the United
States, Newark, New Jersey, on May 11
for a walking tour of the Ironbound district.
opens with two free lunchtime concerts at Brookfield Place by Portuguese singer
Sofia Ribeiro on May 1 and 2, both at 12:00pm. An award-winning performer,
Ribeiro’s latest recording, Mar Sonoro, embraces fado, jazz and contemporary
Brazilian music. Ribeiro has performed extensively throughout the U.S. and
Europe, and has released a total of eight studio albums.
The festival’s free evening concerts begin at the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place with a double bill featuring Camané and Ana Sofia Varela on May 3 at 7:30pm
The second evening double bill at Brookfield Place features Hélder Moutinho and Maria Emília on May 4 at 7:30pm, as well as a pre-concert talk at 6:00pm with fado historian and scholar Dr. Lila Ellen Gray.
on both nights will be backed up by a trio of dynamic musicians: André Dias
(Portuguese guitar), André Ramos (classical guitar) and Rodrigo Serrão
(acoustic bass guitar).
The festival concludes on May 11 with a walking tour and live fado performance in the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, New Jersey, home to a thriving fado community of its own. The Ironbound—so named for the bustling railroad system that encircles it—is an iconic Portuguese neighborhood known for its European feel and for the hundreds of restaurants, cafes, bars and stores within it.
The tour will visit local establishments furnishing Portuguese wine, food and pastries, as well as important cultural attractions. The tour’s final stop will be the Sport Club Português, a leading cultural institution located in the heart of the Ironbound, for refreshments at 6:00pm and an intimate fado concert at 7:00 pm. The tour departs Sport Club Português (55 Prospect Street, a 5-minute walk from Penn Station Newark) at 4:30 pm.
Fado Festival NY&NJ Event Schedule:
Fado Concerts at Brookfield Place – Free!
Brookfield Place, New York
I230 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10281
Wednesday, May 1, 12:00pm – Sofia Ribeiro
Thursday, May 2, 12:00pm – Sofia Ribeiro
Friday, May 3, 7:30pm – Camané / Ana Sofia Varela
Saturday, May 4, 7:30pm* – Hélder Moutinho / Maria Emília
6:00pm pre-concert talk with fado scholar Lila Ellen Gray
Saturday, May 11, 4:30pm – Walking Tour of Ironbound Section of Newark + Fado Concert
Carlos Manuel Moutinho Paiva dos Santos Duarte, better-known
as Camané, was born on December 20, 1966 in Oeiras, Portugal.
He started getting appreciation in Portugal in 1979 after
winning the ‘Grande Noite do Fado’ (Great Fado Night) contest. He became one of
the leading male singers and achieved commercial success with six certified
gold albums: Uma Noite de Fados (1995), Na Linha da Vida (1998), Esta Coisa da Alma (2000), Pelo Dia Dentro
(2001), the live recording Como sempre… Como dantes (2003), and Sempre De Mim
Infinito Presente (2015), the product of an extended collaboration with the writer José Maria Branco, includes lyrics and arrangements that are deceptively simple. The songs express the mysterious emotion that the Portuguese claim as uniquely and exclusively theirs: saudade, which is at once the happiness that brings sadness, and the sadness that brings happiness.
On Camané’s 2017 album, Canta Marceneiro , he revisits the repertory of Alfredo Marceneiro, an early 20th century fado singer who, though only moderately competent as a technician, completely changed fado’s possibilities for artistic expression through unrestrained inventiveness and wit. Camané’s Canta Marceneiro is filled with mischievous stories that reveal the common cares and fears in all of us through the lives of astute waitresses, drunken painters, and kings’ courtiers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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)
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.