Tag Archives: Celina Da Piedade

Contemporary Portuguese Folk Music from the Heart

Celina da Piedade – Em Casa (independent, 2012)

One of the great discoveries this year is the talented Portuguese virtuoso accordionist, vocalist and composer Celina da Piedade. She was one of the artists selected to perform at the Ibero-American Music Expo (EXIB) opening ceremony earlier this month.

Celina’s most recording album is 2012’s two-disc album Em Casa (At Home). This is fabulous release featuring a mix of traditional songs and dances recreated by Celina along with original compositions. The presentation includes ensemble pieces and solo performances as well.

Although a lot of Celina’s music is rooted in Portuguese music, especially the Alentejo region, she also incorporates folk traditions from other parts of Europe, like Brittany, Spain, England, etc.

While most of the time, Celina’s style is acoustic, she doesn’t have any problem using synthesizers and other electronic tools. It’s done tastefully and the electro-acoustic combination works perfectly.

The repertoire includes mazurcas, roundeaus, waltzes, fandangos, and corridinhos, as well as Portuguese songs set to Breton hanter-dro and Galician muiñeira dance rhythms.

Em Casa highlights Celina da Piedade’s talent as a singer, accordionist, arranger and composer. She delivers beautiful accordion melodies throughout the album and some of her highly engaging songs encourage the listener to sing along.

Em Casa features an impressive roster of musicians from Portugal and abroad: Rodrigo Leão on keyboards and programming; Kepa Junkera on accordion and tambourine; Kelly Thoma on Cretan lyre, Efren López on zanfona (hurdy gurdy), Vicky Marques on drums, Eddy Slap on bass and guitar, Samuel Uria on vocals, guitar and banjo; Tania Lopes on percussion, Marco Pereira on cello; Miguel Nogueira on guitar; Maria João Matos on violin; Viviena Tupikova on violin; Bruno Silva on viola; Tony Carlos Gomes on cello; Paulo Pereira on flute; Valter Rolo on piano; Joana Bagulho on cravo; Paul Abelho on percussion and programming; Carlos Guerreiro on vocals, xylophone, tambourine, bass drum; Jose Manuel David on vocals, gaita de fole (bagpipes), Chinese flute, and classical flute; Ana Isabel Dias on harp; Alex Gaspar on serrote; José Barros on viola braguesa (Braguese guitar); Luis Peixoto on mandolin; Pascale Rubens concertina; Toon Van Mierlo on saxophone; and Vasco Ribeiro Casais on nyckelharpa and programming.

Celina da Piedade’s Em Casa is an impressive, beautifully-crafted album by one of the current masters of contemporary Portuguese folk music.

Buy Em Casa in North America

Buy Em Casa in Europe


The Passionate Music of Alentejo, the Focus of EXIB 2016 Opening Concert

The 2016 edition of the Iberoamerican Music Expo (EXIB) opened May 4th in Evora, Portugal. Evora is a beautiful walled city, a UNESCO world heritage site that includes numerous monuments spanning centuries. Evora is located in the Alentejo region of Portugal. It’s part of Portugal’s heartland and is defined by its rural nature. For the EXIB opening, organizers treated the audience to a mix of southern Portuguese traditional and contemporary folk music.


Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Cantares de Évora - Photo by Angel Romero
Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Cantares de Évora – Photo by Angel Romero


The concert at the Teatro Garcia de Resende started with the Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Cantares de Évora, marching through the center aisle towards the stage. This group of talented male and female singers, perform dressed in various costumes reflecting various social strata and professions from the mid-20th century, including traditional farmer, cowboy, and shepherd attire.

They perform traditional cante alentejano, an a cappella style that celebrates rural life. Grupo Coral e Etnográfico Cantares de Évora perform “old style”, without any modern arrangements to the traditional music poems.

A series of short videos were screened, in between performances, highlighting Evora, farm life, the enthralling sheep bell makers and other aspects of the local culture.


Celina Da Piedade - Photo by Angel Romero
Celina Da Piedade – Photo by Angel Romero


One of the great artists from the region, accordionist and vocalist Celina Da Piedade appeared next, accompanying herself on accordion. She was later joined by Há Lobos sem ser na Serra musicians, who accompanied Celina on guitar, drums and vocals.

Celina is a conservatory-trained musician and specializes in music from the Alentejo region. In addition to her talent as a passionate singer, she is also a virtuoso accordionist, playing beautiful melodies inspired by the Alentejo region. She participates and leads numerous workshops and has performed abroad. She leads weekly gatherings of Cante Alentejano in Casa do Alentejo, Lisbon. Celina has participated in over 50 recordings as well as soundtracks for film, theater and dance. She is currently part of the celebrated collective TaisQuais that includes some of the biggest names in Portuguese music: Vitorino, Tim, Sebastião, Serafim, Jorge Palma, Paulo Ribeiro and João Gil. They released a critically acclaimed album titled “Os fabulosos Tais Quais”.


Há Lobos sem ser na Serra - Photo by Angel Romero
Há Lobos sem ser na Serra – Photo by Angel Romero


Há Lobos sem ser na Serra played next. They represent a new generation of cante alentejano musicians. Their sound is rooted in tradition although the arrangements take the music into exciting new directions. While the band plays, a graphic artists paints desings on a video screen.

Há Lobos sem ser na Serra use the 8-shaped guitar called viola campaniça. It’s a rare guitar from Alentejo with a peculiar mouth that nearly disappeared in the 1960s. It has unusual tunings and the band extracts unexpected sounds and some jazz elements. Band members include António Bexiga on viola campaniça; Bernardo ‘Buba’ Espinho on vocals and drum; and David Pereira on viola campaniça and vocals.


João Afonso -- Photo by Angel Romero
João Afonso – Photo by Angel Romero


One of Portugal’s most cherished singer-songwriters, João Afonso, performed accompanied by various guitars. João Afonso plays contemporary folk music and pop inspired by various Portuguese traditions. We have a João Afonso artist profile that you can read for additional information.


Luis Peixoto - Photo by Angel Romero
Luis Peixoto – Photo by Angel Romero


Two string masters participated in the event, accompanying João Afonso, playing solos and mesmerizing interplay. Luis Peixoto is a multi-instrumentalist who plays various string instruments and also mixes folk music with electronics. For this occasion he used the tiny cavaquinho, which is one of the ancestors of the ukulele.


Juan José Robles - Photo by Angel Romero
Juan José Robles – Photo by Angel Romero


Juan José Robles, from southeastern Spain, was one of the two international guests. He’s also multi-instrumentalist specialized in string instruments and the folk music from the Murcia region. He used the mandolina (mandolin), octavilla (a guitar from La Mancha) and a guitarro valenciano.


Carlos Malta - Photo courtesy of EXIB
Carlos Malta – Photo courtesy of EXIB


Carlos Malta’s flute sounds entered the theater down the center aisle. The Brazilian wind instrument master brought the sounds of South America and joined the rest of the musicians for several beautiful songs that were very familiar to the Portuguese members of the audience, who sang along.


Ovation at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Ovation at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

The EXIB 2016 opening concert was a superb introduction to the music of Alentejo.







Related links:

Iberoamerican Music Expo (EXIB)
Celina Da Piedade
João Afonso
Luis Peixoto
Carlos Malta


Ibero-American Music Expo EXIB 2016 opens May 4 in Portugal

João Afonso
João Afonso

The 2016 edition of EXIB Música, the Ibero-American Music Expo, will open May 4 with an inaugural concert at Teatro García de Resende in Evora (Portugal).

The artists scheduled to perform include renowned Portuguese artists João Afonso, Celina Da Piedade, Há Lobos sem ser na Serra and Luis Peixoto. They will be joined by special guests Carlos Malta from Brazil and Juan José Robles from Spain.

EXIB 2016 takes place May 4-7 in Evora. The music expo and conference will feature showcases by Latin American and Iberian artists as well as conferences and trade fair.

For more details go to http://exibmusica.com/en