Acclaimed fado Singer Carlos Do Carmo and special guest Celeste Rodrigues are set to perform on Saturday, April 7 at 8:00 pm at The Town Hall in New York City. The two artists will be accompanied by José Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar, Carlos Manuel Proença on classical guitar and Daniel Pinto on acoustic bass.
Carlos do Carmo, winner of the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, is one of Portugal’s most famous fado stars. The iconic Celeste Rodrigues, sister of Amália Rodrigues, is a living legend who, at 95 years of age, is regarded within Portugal as one of fado’s most fundamental and vibrant links to its distant past.
“Every concert is a gift we share with each other,” says do Carmo.
Maria Celeste Rebordão Rodrigues, better known as Celeste Rodrigues, was born in Alpedrinha, Fundão, on March 14, 1923. She is a veteran fado performer and younger sister or fado legend Amália Rodrigues.
Celeste Rodrigues has been performing fado live for over 70 years. Even though her discography includes nearly 60 releases, many are singles and EPs, and, with the exception of Fado Celeste (2007), almost all are extremely difficult to find. Despite her reluctance to record, many of the songs that are most closely associated with her sit firmly in fado’s canon, including “Lenda das algas”, “Marcha de Alfama” and “Saudade, vai-te embora.”
She continues to sing in some of the most illustrious fado houses in Lisbon.
Carlos Manuel de Ascenção do Carmo de Almeida, better known as Carlos do Carmo, was born on December 21, 1939 in Lisbon’s Mouraria neighborhood.
Carlos Do Carmo is known as “The voice of the fado”, Portugal’s folk song. The new generations always take him as a point of reference. Son of the great fado singer Lucilia Do Carmo, he has disseminated Portuguese popular music like no other has done. He has contributed in changing the sad image of the fado and each performance of his is a delight to be witnessed. At times he tells us, and he sings, that songs have ceased to belong to their authors so as to pass themselves on to the people who immortalize them.
The remarkable career of Carlos do Carmo has included dozens of album-length recordings and thousands of performances for audiences worldwide, drawing on a meaningful and highly influential repertory of fados that speak of love, loss and the eternal paradox of Portuguese saudade (longing). His accomplishments have been recognized through multiple national and international awards, including a Latin GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, citing him as “one of the most iconic voices of Portuguese music.”
Carlos do Carmo’s professional career began at age 23 when he performed at his family’s celebrated fado house, O Faia, located in the Lisbon neighborhood of Bairro Alto. In the subsequent 50-plus years, his recorded and live output has been prodigious. Even the 10-CD collection 100 Canções (2010) can only be viewed as a sampling of “the best of the best.”
His milestone 1977 recording, Um Homem na Cidade, is a deeply moving musical portrait of post-revolutionary Lisbon, with all of its glorious beauty, contradictions and mystery unbroken. The 1974 revolution had overthrown the regime linked to Europe’s longest-ruling dictator, António Salazar, and triggered Portugal’s first steps towards modernization. As Carlos do Carmo remembers, “When the revolution came, the difference was total: you could breathe. There were no restrictions.” Widespread censorship and control in society had yielded to a more vigorous tension between the country’s ingrained conservatism and its emerging liberties of expression. Um Homem na Cidade captured this moment through haunting, ethereal works such as “Rosa da Noite,” “Fado do Campo Grande”, and the record’s title track.
Carlos do Carmo’s many live recordings, most notably those commemorating the 25th and 35th years of his career, render not merely the high points, such as the songs “Canoas do Tejo,” “Loucura,” and “Lisboa Menina e Moça,”but also the template for the sound of contemporary fado. As Carlos do Carmo describes it, fado is “a mysterious and genuine song. To sing and to listen to fado you have to have heart and soul.”
Lula Pena was born May 15, 1974 in Lisbon, Portugal. Her inventive form of fado and other styles of music has developed a devoted following worldwide. Raised in Lisbon, Pena takes fado to every Mediterranean port, and also across the Atlantic to Brazil and Central America.
Her first album, Phados, released in 1998, won her immediate acclaim through her deep, commanding yet sensitive voice, her natural blend of fado roots with the colors of Portuguese folk music, French chanson, Cape Verdean morna, Brazilian bossa nova, and the scaled down delivery of voice and guitar.
She re-appeared on the scene some twelve years later with the release of her second album, Troubadour, a collection of stories of passion and pain, mirroring her personal journey as an existentialist musician and a serendipitous poet.
Throughout the past few years she has performed in Cape Verde, Brazil, Chile, the United States, and around Europe, occasionally appearing in duo with Guinea-Bissau multi-instrumentalist, MuMbana, or the New Zealand saxophonist, Hayden Chisholm, but usually, on her own.
She performed at the World Music Expo (WOMEX) Official Showcase Selection in October 2014.
In 2017, she released her third album, Archivo Pittoresco.
Ricardo Alexandre Paulo Ribeiro was born August 19, 1981 in Lisbon, Portugal. Ricardo Ribeiro discovered fado at an early age, listening to the big names of that time, who would later became his main influences: Fernando Mauricio, Amália Rodrigues, Alfredo Marceneiro, Manuel Fernandes, Adelino dos Santos (guitar) and José Inácio (Spanish guitar). In 2001, Ricardo was invited to take part in various worldwide music festivals, including Alu Casa da Atriz María Casares, Badasom, Vocal Jazz Festival Crest, Córdoba’s Guitar Festival, and the Santo Tirso Guitar Festival.
In 2004, his first record Ricardo Ribeiro was released by the CNM – Coleção Antologia label, which brought together guitar players José Manuel Neto, Jorge Fernando and Marino de Freitas. Ricardo also took part in the Tribute to Amália Rodrigues record (2004) on the World Connection label, singing the song “Quando se gosta de Alguém.”
Ricardo was awarded the Male Revelation Prize by the Amália Rodrigues Foundation and the Revelation Award by Casa da Imprensa in 2005. In 2011, he was once again awarded with the Best Male singer prize by the Amália Rodrigues Foundation, and performed two sold-out shows at São Luiz Teatro Municipal in Lisbon, dedicated to Lisbon and fado. He was also invited by Macau’s Chinese Orchestra to perform at the Luso-Chinese music cycle at the Macau Cultural Center, directed by Maestro Pang Ka Pang.
Ricardo received the Henry the Navigator Award from Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva in 2015.
He participated in the album “Amália – Voices of Fado,” produced by guitarist Javier Limón.
His album, Hoje é assim, amanhã não sei (Today is like this, tomorrow I don’t know), was released in April 2016.
In 2018, he performed for the first time at the New York Fado Festival.
Schimmel Center will present celebrated fado artist Lula Pena on Saturday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the New York Fado Festival.
Singer, songwriter and guitar player Lula Pena is set to deeply emotional songs that cross borders from neighboring Andalucia to Greece and Sardinia to the Americas. Pena’s concerts combine her fado roots with colors of Portuguese folk music, French chanson, Cape Verdean morna, and Brazilian bossa nova.
Tickets are available at www.schimmelcenter.org, by calling 212-346-1715 or by visiting the box office located at 3 Spruce Street.
Portuguese vocalist Claudia Aurora is set to perform at the Songlines Fado Series, on Friday, September 29, 2017 at The Pheasantry, Pizza Express in London.
Claudia Aurora’s second album, Mulher Do Norte, translates from Portuguese as Woman of the North. In 2003 Claudia Aurora moved from her beloved Porto to Bristol. She began singing in the kitchen as a remedy to homesickness. She sung fado. Eventually, she wrote her own songs. Impassioned songs of loss, love, longing.
“People don’t understand what I’m singing,” says Claudia, “so I try to make them feel what I want them to feel. Onstage, my heart is in my mouth, and I think maybe people will see it beating.”
In addition to Portuguese traditional roots, Mulher Do Norte embraces other grand old traditions of the Iberian Peninsula: flamenco, tango, gypsy music.
Yolanda Soares – Royal Fado (Compaes Records, 2016)
Eclectic classically-trained Portuguese vocalist Yolanda Soares draws her inspiration from fado, although she doesn’t describe herself as a fado singer. On Royal Fado she showcases her gifted voice accompanied by Portuguese guitar and Welsh harp. In addition, Yolanda Soares incorporates flamenco, tango and Middle Eastern influences. This unconventional, innovative fusion works out very well.
The Welsh connection comes from the album’s producer Chris Marshall who brought in acclaimed harp player Claire Jones; baritone singer Rhydian Roberts; Portuguese guitar maestro Custódio Castelo and traditional choral group A Moda Mae from Alentejo.
On Royal Fado, Yolanda Soares brings passion and a new imagination of fado.
One of the most exciting new fado vocalists, Gisela João will make her New York City debut at the Schimmel Center at Pace University on Saturday, February 25 at 7:30 p.m. as part of the first NY Fado Festival.
Gisela João’s self-titled debut CD (released in 2013), brought enthusiastic praise from the Portuguese and European press. Within two weeks of release it went straight to the top of the Portuguese charts. Her following live appearances decisively established her as a unique and uncompromising voice. While other singers communicate the fado’s strong sentiments exclusively through their voices, Gisela João’s fado is a full-body experience. Onstage, she jumps, she gestures, and she emotes.
Offstage, her interviews are equally wide-ranging and unrestrained. She moves swiftly from discussing fado to house music to Nick Cave and Nina Simone, affirming confidently that “all genres of music end up influencing all others because music thrives upon life itself.”
Gisela João was born in 1983, in the northern Portuguese city of Barcelos, rather than in Lisbon, the cradle of fado. Her career began when she procured her first contract by sending a portfolio of videos to Portugal’s major labels, signing soon after with the Valentim de Carvalho label (the most reputable fado label).
Both Gisela João and Nua were recorded not in sterile studios, but in Old World palaces located in and around Lisbon, the equipment trucked in and the interiors left untouched. Her video catalog contains a daring, even radical visual style, expressed possibly most powerfully in the video for “Labirinto ou não foi nada,” featuring not Gisela João but a transvestite artist in scenes of backstage and subterranean intrigue.
With the release of her second album Nua (Naked) she has jumped deeply into the most sacred territory of the fado canon—the repertory of the late Amália Rodrigues, undoubtedly the genre’s foremost exponent. In so doing, she stands an excellent chance of helping to redefine contemporary notions of the fado.
Gisela João also performs contemporary songs on Nua, such as “Noite de São João” (Night of Saint John), with lyrics written for the album by the female rapper Capicua. I’s the recount a tale of late-night romance with a very bad boy. João dismisses any criticism that this lyric is somehow beneath the fado. She stresses that fado was once a music of people living at the margins of society: scoundrels, ne’er-do-wells, seafarers. As she says, “I like traditional fado, pure and raw.”
Gisela João will be accompanied by Ricardo Parreira on the 12-string Portuguese guitar, Nelson Aleixo on the classical guitar, and Francisco Gaspar on the acoustic bass guitar. A pre-show talk on fado and a special exhibit from the Museu do Fado in Lisbon are included in the February 25th program.
Schimmel Center at Pace University Presents: Gisela João (NY Debut)
The Schimmel Center
Saturday February 25, 2017
3 Spruce Street, Manhattan
6:00 pm: Pre-Show Conversation with Fado Scholar Lila Ellen Gray
7:30 pm: Acoustic Trio (Portuguese guitar, classical guitar, acoustic bass)
8:00 pm: Gisela João
Tickets $29, $39 schimmelcenter.org/event/new-york-fado-festival
A fado exhibit from Museu do Fado in Lisbon will be on display in the Schimmel Center lobby
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.