Tag Archives: Duarte

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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Artist Profiles: Duarte

Duarte

Duarte is a psychologist and Fado singer born in 1980 in the town of Arraiolos, district of Evora, Portugal. From the age of 7 until 16 he studied music at the Academia de Musica Eborense, where he concluded the 3rd year of piano, the 2nd year of Music History, 4th year of Classical Guitar, and the 7th year of Musical Studies. At this academy, he was also part of the choir and was involved in some chamber music projects.

He taught music to 1st graders during the Summer of 1997, in his home town, Arraiolos. In 1999, he taught music therapy sessions applied to handicapped students at CerciDiana (education, reintegration and rehabilitation Co-op). He also taught music to personnel from this institution.

From 1993 to 2002 he was involved in several pop-rock musical projects and was part of the University of Evora’s Academic Choir. He finished his degree in Clinical Psychology at this same University.

His vocation as a fado singer began in 1987 and in 1993, he went to look for other musical experiences, only to return to fado in 1997, assuming it as his life commitment.

He is one of the prominent voices of a new generation of fado singers. Duarte has already had an enviable career. He has performed in Portugal and abroad (Spain, Holland) in theaters, casinos, and ‘Fado houses’ (restaurants dedicated to Fado), crossing his path with artists like Mariza.

He released his first album in 2004, “Fados Meus.”

Discography:

Fados Meus (2004)
Diamante ‎(Aragon, 2004)
Aquelas Coisas Da Gente ‎(AVM Music Editions, 2009)
Sem dor nem piedade ‎(AVM Music Editions, 2015)
Só a Cantar ‎(AVM Music Editions, 2018)

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Three Continents Represented at EXIB 2016 Day 1 Showcases

The threat of rain forced organizers to move the EXIB 2016 showcase stage from the Roman Temple of Évora (Templo de Diana) to Praça do Giraldo in downtown Evora. The first artist to appear on stage was Chilean singer-songwriter Nano Stern. Armed with just a guitar and his vocals, he put on a lively show. Nano is deeply influenced by the Nueva Canción Chilena, especially artists like Victor Jara and Inti Illimani.

As I am gradually able to create powerful vibrations, other people can feel the effect that this has; if it is intense, then everything vibrates around it,” says Nano about his work. His discography includes Live in Concert; Las Torres de Sal; Los Espejos; Nano Stern; Mil 500 Vueltas; and Voy y Vuelvo.

Nano’s lyrics are charged with political and anti-establishment messages. Unlike other singer-songwriters in the past, he strums and plays some solos on his acoustic guitar wildly, looking more like a rocker than a folk singer. His one-man show was highly entertaining.

 

Mariola Membrives at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Mariola Membrives at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

The next artist scheduled to perform was Ecuadorian singer Mariela Condo. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to make it due to the devastating earthquake in Ecuador. Mariela was replaced by Spanish vocalist, dancer and educator Mariola Membrives.

 

 Mariola Membrives and Masa Kamaguchi at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero

Mariola Membrives and Masa Kamaguchi at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Membrives performed part of her “La Llorona” show. It’s a mix of flamenco, Latin American influences and jazz. She appeared before the live audience accompanied by bassist Masa Kamaguchi. While Membrives sang with a mixture of flamenco and jazz vocal techniques, Masa Kamaguchi performed serpentine jazz bass lines. It was an unexpected mix that felt like two simultaneous performances on stage, but it worked.

 

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

 

The third act, Duarte, brought the passion and charisma of fado to downtown Evora. Duarte started the show saying “Welcome to my square, welcome to our square. It’s good to be back home after so many travels.” Duarte is a native of Evora and has a fado and pop and rock background. He researched traditional Fado lyrics and music and has composed his own songs that form part of his repertoire. In 2006 the Amalia Rodrigues Foundation awarded him the Emerging Male Fado Singer prize.

The audience loved Duarte’s captivating performance. He was accompanied by two outstanding instrumentalists, Pedro Amendoeira on guitarra portuguesa (Portuguese guitar) and Rogério Ferreira on viola de fado (fado guitar).

 

Pedro Amendoeira at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero
Pedro Amendoeira at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

 Rogério Ferreira at EXIB 2016 - Photo by Angel Romero

Rogério Ferreira at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Duarte has released three albums “Fados Meus” (2004), “Aquelas Coisas da Gente” (2009) and “Sem dor nem piedade” (2015).

 

Karyna Gomes with Ivan Gomes - Photo by Angel Romero
Karyna Gomes with Ivan Gomes – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Vocalist and percussionist Karyna Gomes brought the sounds of Guinea Bissau to EXIB 2016. Karyna grew up in Guinea Bissau and was a member of the iconic Super Mama Djombo. She currently lives in Portugal.

During her show, Karyna introduced the gourd water drum played only by women and despite having a drummer, Karyna delivered a set of laid back songs.

 

gourd water drum - Photo by Angel Romero
gourd water drum – Photo by Angel Romero

 

Karyna Gomes recently recorded her first solo album, titled “Mindjer“, produced by Paulo Borges. “Mindjer” is a tribute to the strength, determination and courage of the women of Guinea Bissau.

Karyna Gomes’ band included Jose Afonso on keyboards; Hugo Aly on bass; Nir Paris on drums; Ivan Gomes on guitar; and Ibrahima Galissa on kora.

 

Kalakan at EXIB 2016 - Photo courtesy of EXIB Música
Kalakan at EXIB 2016 – Photo courtesy of EXIB Música

 

Northern Basque band Kalakan put on a popular show, using drums, the alboka animal horn (hornpipe), the chalaparta percussion instrument and Basque traditional vocals. The trio sings in Basque and their dynamic show was well-liked by the audience.

Kalakan has a new album titled Elementuak that features instrumental and a cappella pieces, combining traditional sounds with newly composed material.

Band members include Thierry Biscary on vocals and percussion; Jamixel Bereau on vocals and percussion; and Xan Errotabehere on vocals, alboka, flute and percussion.

related articles:

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

related links:

Nano Stern
Mariola Membrives
Duarte
Kalakan

Headline photo: Nano Stern at EXIB 2016 – Photo by Angel Romero

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