Ronda dos Quatro Caminhos is one of the most important groups in the Portuguese traditional folk music scene. The group was formed in the early 1980s. During this time Ronda recorded over a dozen albums and performed throughout the world.
On stage, Ronda presents a selection of Portuguese traditional songs, from the north to the south of Portugal, from the islands of Azores and Madeira.
Antonio Prata – violin & bandolim; Carlos Barata – accordion & bandolim; Pedro Fragoso – keyboards; Pedro Pita – drum set; Mario Peniche – electric bass; and Joao Oliveira – vocals & guitar
Ronda Dos Quatro Caminhos (Orfeu, 1984) Cantigas do Sete-Estrelo (Rádio Triunfo, 1985) Canções Tradicionais Infantis (Transmedia, 1985) Amores De Maio (Contradança, 1986) Fados Velhos (Contradança, 1987) Romarias (Ovação, 1991) Uma Noite De Música Tradicional (Polydor, 1993) Outras Terras (RQC, 1999) Terra De Abrigo (Ocarina, 2003) Canções Esquecidas (Ovação, 2005) Ronda Dos Quatro Caminhos com a Orquestra Sinfonietta De Lisboa – Ao vivo no Grande Auditório do Centro Cultural de Belém (Ocarina, 2005)
Sara Tavares was only 16 years old, when she won two of Portugal’s most prestigious TV music contests. Born out of a second generation Cape Verdean immigrants, Sara grew up between two cultures.
Initially known as a singer and composer of Gospel, Soul and Funk, she gradually incorporated more of her African music in her compositions. In 1994, she recorded her first album Sara Tavares & Shout, released in 1996. To present the album she performed all over Portugal, Cape Verde, and France.
Her second album Mi Ma Bô, produced by Lokua Kanza, reached gold in Portugal. The album was a mix of African rhythms and melodic pop songs.
By the end of 1998, Sara Tavares decided to start working on her new album. To achieve that, she stopped performing, and went through a long period of introspection to search for her real roots and influences.
As a result of such profound search, Mi Ma Bô was born. Mi Ma Bô, which translated from the criolo (language from Cape Verde) means “Me and You”, is an intimate album, wherein Sara’s voice links all the emotions expressed in its lyrics and melodies.
In this record, Sara Tavares establishes herself not only as a huge musical talent, but also as a composer and co-producer, which assures us of her maturity, her talent and of the long career she has in front of her.
Mi Ma Bô was produced by Lokua Kanza, a musician from Congo, living in Paris. He has previously worked with other African artists such as Ray Lema, Manu Dibango, Papa Wemba, Miriam Makeba and Youssou N’dour. Together with Sara’s co-production, the final result is a very special album, with African colours and a touch of soul, that winds up stirring the listener’s soul.
Sung in three different languages (Portuguese, Criolo and English), “Mi Ma Bô” really shows the universality of the language of music. The album reached gold status in Portugal.
In 2006, her third album, Balancê, came out on World Connection (Europe) and Times Square (North America).
Sara Tavares has become one of the leading exponents of Lisbon’s world music scene. “There is a big, big generation of Cape Verdeans and other Africans here in Lisbon, in Paris, in Boston, all over; with a kind of messed-up identity,” says Tavares. “Our generation feels very lost because there is no culture specifically for us; that talks about our reality.”
“When I walk around with my friends, it’s a very, very interesting community,” Tavares explains. “We speak Portuguese slang, Angolan slang, some words in Cape Verdean Crioulo, and of course some English. In Crioulo there are already English and French words. This is because slaves from all over the world had to communicate and didn’t speak the same languages. We are a metisse culture.”
Multilingual wordplay shows up throughout Tavares’ album, and she hops across cultural references as much as she embraces any. The album title Balancê has many different meanings. The noun balan?o is used in Portuguese when music swings. Lusophone Africans use the verb form Balancê in a more general way. “When you are eating something really good you say “this food is Balancê!“? explains Tavares.
“For me the song, Balancê is also about balancing yourself,” Tavares continues, “between sadness and joy; day and night; salt and sugar. It’s about balancing emotions. You are always walking a thin line and you have to keep your balance. You have to dance with that line in order to keep standing. If you stay too rigid, you will fall.”
“I was in Zimbabwe a few years ago and I saw some really drunk people dancing,” Tavares chuckles. “We were watching them, and they were always almost falling and then they would catch themselves. Just like those people dancing, I also want to dance with that kind of freedom and balance.”
Through music, Tavares seeks cultural roots, along with the help of veteran African musicians in Lisbon and back in Cape Verde where she travels every year.
“The whole album is like little lullabies to myself,” says Tavares. “All the messages are about self-esteem, loving yourself. About liking what is different in you. About integrating all the parts of you.”
“Bom Feeling,” whose title combines a Portuguese word with an English word that “everyone uses,” translates as “Good Feeling.” While some people look down on the Portuguese slang associated with African people in Portugal, Tavares embraces it. Tavares says she is from a “broken home” and identifies with street culture.
“Poka Terra” is influenced by Afro-Beat and semba (a style from Angola). The song’s title is an onomatopoeia for the sound a train makes. Tavares is calling on people to catch the train of consciousness and to become responsible for yourself. She sings “An alligator that sleeps will be turned into an alligator bag sold in some store.”
On “Planeta Sukri” (Sugar Planet) Tavares places a reggae style sound system on top of a traditional Cape Verdean rhythm coladeira (a style made popular by Cesaria Evora). “The poem of this song can be seen as a love poem,” says Tavares. “I am saying “Take me to a sugar planet, take me to place where there is no sadness, no cries. And this place is inside of you and me and everyone.” I mean it more in a spiritual way than a romantic way. The ballads are very much like little prayers.”
Tavares talks to the moon on “Muna Xeia” (Full Moon). The song title emerged when Tavares made a mistake and accidentally combined the English word “moon” with the Portuguese word for the same “lua.” “It’s a very feminine song with me talking to the women,” Tavares explains. “First the woman inside of me and then the women in Africa and the women in the world. I sing, “Moon go in peace, moon go in faith, walk in peace, walk in faith.””
Tavares spent time in Cape Verde working with a contemporary dance company. “You know how contemporary artists do crazy experimental stuff” she asks. “Well, they gave me the strength to experiment. If those who live in and own the culture, then we in diaspora can also experiment. As long as someone keeps the tradition. It’s a two-sided knife.”
“I want to be a part of a movement like the African Americans were, like the African Brazilians were,” Tavares says. “Instead of doing the music of their ancestors, they have created this musical identity of their own. And it is now respected. It is considered whole and authentic and genuine. It will be a long time before the people from my generation do not have to choose between being African or European. I think you shouldn’t have to choose. You should just be there. Celebrate that. Be that!”
Sara Tavares & Shout! (BMG Portugal, 1996)
Mi Ma Bô (RCA, 1999) Balancê (Times Square Records, 2005) Xinti (World Connection, 2009) Fitxadu (Sony Music, 2017)
Terrakota is a Portuguese world fusion band that generates “organic music” rooted in sub-Saharan Africa, that absorbs sounds from the Sahara, the Caribbean, the West Indies, and rises above the Jamaican sun.
ALMMA stood for A Free Association of Madeiran Musicians. In 1996, eleven Madeiran musicians coming from diverse musical backgrounds gathered together in a small village, Jardim do Mar, west of Funchal (Madeira’s capital) to record an experimental album that would create a new atmosphere for Madeiran traditional music.
The purpose of these musicians was to show the various developments in Madeiran traditional music during the last centuries. Madeira was an island colonized by Portuguese settlers in the XV century, but because of its geographical position in the Atlantic ocean it was a cosmopolitan port for all travelers, from Arabic pirates to African slaves, English businessmen, Italians, Dutch, Spaniards and Celtic peoples.
So, Madeiran traditional music, although dominated by northern Portuguese traditions, had other important influences. Of particular importance were Arabic chants and instruments, as well as the richness of African drums and oral stories.
Unfortunately, for many centuries historians and governments tried to hide those influences and, in the name of Portuguese unity, only taught the politically correct musical traditions. ALMMA was the opposite. In a contemporary way, it showed the richness of Madeiran music. The band blended African drums with Arabic flutes and chorus, all mixed with Portuguese fados and Celtic danceable tunes. It seems a very strange melting pot, but in the end it truly presents the variety of Madeiran culture, not only in music, but also in other ways, such as poetry, myths and costumes.
Creating a distinctly modern Portuguese sound, Madredeus became one of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful Portuguese bands in Europe. This Lisbon-based sextet’s music is steeped in Portuguese culture, informed by a wide range of musical influences and prized by audiences throughout Europe, Brazil, and Japan.
In 1985 Pedro Ayres Magalhaes, bassist of Herois do Mar and Rodrigo Leao, bassist of Sétima Legiao, began to mature the idea of making another type of music due to the fatigue caused by their involvement in the Portuguese pop scene.
During a break in the activities of their respective groups, Pedro and Rodrigo joined to rehearse some guitar repertoires. Pedro also presented some lyrics although they lacked a voice. They were joined by accordionist, Gabriel Gomes.
Soon, a cellist who was studying at the Lisbon Conservatory began to collaborate with them. However, they continued to lack a voice, because despite doing continuous auditions, they did not find one that fully satisfied them. One night, Rodrigo and Gabriel visited the Barrio Alto and discovered a young girl who sang a fado at a table with some friends. They immediately established contact. Everyone agreed that it was the voice they were looking for. So they started rehearsing together.
The rigors of winter forced them to look for a more welcoming place and that is how they ended up rehearsing in the convent of Madre de Deus, in Xabregas, east of Lisbon.
During 1987, Madredeus’s essays gradually transformed into a gathering of friends and musicians in which opinions and ideas were shared. The group remained nameless so those who frequented the rehearsals began to call them “Madredeus”.
Meanwhile, Pedro Ayres began to tempt the label with which he released the records of his previous group, with some recordings by the new group. At the same time, Rodrigo Leao began to experience a new sound, that of the synthesizer. His first work was recorded in the same rehearsal place. To make little noise the musicians played barefoot and had to stop the recording every time a heavy vehicle passed by, due to the noise. On November 30, the album was presented.
From there on, instrumental arrangements inspired by tradition, that sought to revive the interest and taste for the Portuguese language began to have more and more followers.
The first week of December of that year “Os Dias da Madredeus” was released. The album immediately became an assiduous presence on radios and newspapers and began to be an obligatory reference of Portuguese music.
In 1988, the group began to be constantly requested for more concerts in Portugal. That year was very important in consolidating the group in its own country. The following year, they had exceeded all initial expectations.
Two years later, Madredeus recorded the album Existir. For the first time in a studio. At that time they met Antonio Pinheiro da Silva who would continue with them as a producer on their first albums.
In 1991 they gave their first concert in Spain, where they would reap great successes. That same year, they recorded their first live work, Lisbon. EMI reissued the second work album.
In 1992 and in 1993 they had already traveled throughout European countries, America and Japan.
In 1994, after a short break after the frenzied activity of the previous year, the band started a relationship with Wim Wenders who was preparing a film about Lisbon, and wanted to use some Madredeus songs in the soundtrack. They flew to England to record some songs, and decided, to the delight of Wim Wenders, to create some of them expressly for the film. They came back with two albums instead of one. So the first of them was published in the spring under the title Espírito da Paz.
After several concerts, performing in places of great prestige, Rodrigo Leao left the group to dedicate himself to his solo career and was immediately replaced by Carlos María Trindade. He accompanied Madredeus on a long tour of Spain. Then they traveled around the world carrying their music. At the end they presented the songs of the soundtrack of the film in an album, the second that year, titled Ainda.
1996 was a year in which concerts and breaks and conversations were interspersed. A year later, Gabriel Gomes and Francisco Riveiro left the group. Bassist Fernando Judice replaced them. It was a new group that marked a new stage in the career of Madredeus.
In 1998 they recorded live O Paraiso, a trip throughout its musical career. During these two years they resumed their tours and continued to be successful all over the world.
Then came “Antologia“, a disc composed of travel notes brought from around the world. Images of moments, snapshots of emotions, some of Madredeus’ songs, built on dreams and landscapes, hopes and longings.
In November 2007, longtime vocalist Teresa Salgueiro left Madredeus.
In April 2012 Madredeus released Essencia and announced too its new lineup, featuring Beatriz Nunes (vocals), Pedro Ayres de Magalhães (guitar), Carlos Maria Trinidade (synthesizer), Jorge Varrecoso (violin), Antonio Figueirido (violin) and Luis Clode (cello).
Mafalda Arnauth, born in Lisbon in October of 1974, was one of the great new sensations in fado in the late 1990s. She started her career in 1995 when invited by Joao Braga (an important fado singer) to participate in a concert at S. Luis’s Theater. What initially seemed to be a single experience, turned out to be a way of life.
Today her value is recognized, not only in Portugal but also in many foreign countries, where her presence is regularly requested.
Mafalda Arnauth, her first album released in 1999, was immediately acclaimed by specialists and won the Prize for Best Upcoming Voice by the weekly magazine Blitz, a sign that new generations are back into fado.
After a year filled with concerts and important invitations, that took her to the most important concert halls in The Netherlands, the Louisiana Centre (Denmark) and to Italy, to perform in the festival Sete-Sois, Sete-Luas, an important Mediterranean folk music event, she sang at Centro Cultural de Belem, where she was warmly acclaimed by the press.
Mafalda’s second album, Esta voz que me atravessa (This voice that goes through me) was released in 2001 and was produced by Amelia Muge and Jose Martins. Her album Encantamento was self-produced. She feels it “leaves fatality, disgrace, and nostalgia behind. Hope is fed on sadness; inspiration on suffering; strength and courage on difficulties.”
Mísia was born in the city of Oporto, where she lived until the end of her adolescence. The daughter of a family with great sociocultural differences, and the third generation of artists on her mother’s side, she inherited from her mother and grandmother a fascination for the world of the performance stage.
Family reasons led her to interrupt her studies and to travel to Barcelona, where she became acquainted with new artistic tendencies. At the same time, distance and “saudade” (longing) began to come together in a new look at her own cultural roots. Thus there reappeared, and stayed, the memory of Fado (of her first experiences in the fado houses of Oporto), which became an inspiring force and, later a chosen vocation. Far from Portugal, a journey “inside” began, in muted fashion.
Meanwhile, Mísia worked as a “professional artist”. She took part in various television programs, sang in various styles, in various languages, in various locales of the “movida madrileña” cultural movement (the great cultural explosion that took place in Madrid). She tried a little of everything, still viewing her profession as an exciting way of life. Of these years, rich in anonymous artistic experiences, bohemian living and financial difficulties, Mísia retained memories and a useful stage skill. Without forgetting her special affection for boarding houses and trains?
In 1990, the journey “inside” had as its final destination Fado and the return to Portugal, where she still lives. Having decided to take seriously this urban music, temporarily in cultural and commercial disgrace following the Revolution of the Carnations (1974), Mísia began to work in Lisbon with musicians, composers, lyricists and poets. Thus began a long and solitary personal path, at a time when, between the enormous success of Amalia Rodrigues and the increasing success of world music (which aroused the commercial interest of recording companies and the curiosity of the media and public for this musical genre) there was a long wait.
The self titled Mísia, her first CD, was produced by EMI-Valentim de Carvalho in 1991. In 1993 it was followed by Mísia Fado, initially privately produced and subsequently taken on by BMG-Portugal, after proposals from Japan, Korea and Spain, countries in which Mísia worked regularly in that year.
Tanto Memnos Tanto Mais was released in 1995, also by BMG, and was considered one of the best CDs of the year by a number of European newspapers (Expresso, Liberation, Le Monde etc), and it heralded the consolidation of her international career, winning the French award Grand Prix du Disque de l’Academie Charles Cros. In spite of this, it was a difficult period of being a recording “orphan”, a fact reflected above all in the inadequate distribution of her CDs.
In 1996, Mísia performed for the first time in Paris (Maison des Cultures du Monde) and was contacted by Erato Disques, the French classical music label, part of the Warner Classic Music group.
Erato released Garras dos Sentidos in 1998. Distributed in 62 countries, it sold some 200,000 copies, earning a Silver Disc in Portugal. It was voted a “Choc de la Musique” in France, and in Portugal was in the list of the One Hundred Best Discs of the 20th Century in the newspaper Publico.
Paixaes Diagonais followed in 1999, in which Mísia sings a fado accompanied at the piano by Maria Joao Pires in a unique meeting of sensibilities. She received excellent articles and reviews of this project, notably, for the first time in Portuguese music, a “spotlight” in the highly regarded American journal Billboard. Three fados from this CD were used as part of the soundtrack for the film “Passionata” (Dan Ireland, USA), one of them being choreographed by Bill T. Jones.
Mísia took for her fados words by some of the greatest poets in Portuguese literature, such as Fernando Pessoa, Ant?nio Botto, Natalia Correia and Mario de Sa-Carneiro, and also the Brazilian Carlos Drummond de Andrade. The contemporary poets Lidia Jorge, Agustina Bessa Luis, Mario Claudio and the Nobel laureate Jose Saramago wrote especially for her voice. The word, poetry – used as a link between the present and an older way of singing – has been the principal element in Mísia’s work over the last ten years. Work which has acquired its own sound, with the introduction of the violin and the accordion, instruments which play fado in the streets. Ricardo Dias, producer of both “Garras” and “Paixaes,” provided the arrangements.
Meanwhile, there were concerts in the world’s most famous halls, such as Town Hall (New York), the Philharmonia in Berlin, the Olympia (Paris), Palacio de Los Congresos (Madrid), Cocoon Theater (Tokyo), Piccolo Teatro (Milan) etc, etc. The “concert” and the reaction of the audience are her principal source of energy. Her fados and her person have inspired work by artists from different areas and cultures, including American choreographer Bill T. Jones, Indian ballet dancer Padma Subramanian, and French director Patrice Leconte,.
With Ritual Mísia returned to the musical tradition of Fado (Portuguese guitar, fado guitar and acoustic bass). The lyrics were mostly written by songwriters and recorded in whole takes, using a valve microphone, as was done fifty years ago. The musical direction and two unpublished songs were provided by Carlos Goncalves, the great composer and accompanist of Amelia Rodrigues’ last years. About Ritual Mísia said: “”it is a CD which shows the course I have taken. Doing, undoing and redoing, knowing that there exists no pure art and that each artist must have his own universe. My hell and my paradise, my life and my death are contained in this disc. My Fado”
In 2003 she released Canto, which includes the best works of Portuguese guitarist Carlos Paredes with poems by Vasco Graca Moura, Sergio Godinho and Pedro Tamen.
Her 2005 release, Drama Box, is a collection of tangos, boleros and fados, sung in Portuguese and Spanish.
In Portuguese countryside, “Moçoila” is a common word to designate a young and attractive girl. And these can surely catch their audiences: powerful singing and traditional percussion playing, old and new songs from the land and the sea performed with unique joy and freshness.
Having the recovery of traditional Algarve music as a starting point, this vocal ensemble has a unique manner of interpreting old songs from the mountain “Serra do Caldeirão” For its most part their repertoire is composed by traditional folk songs from Algarve, rich in slang, the Algarvian cursing, and playful naggery spicing the plain love stories and social critique. This is a unique and yet to-be-discovered secret in Portuguese folk music.
Teresa Colaco – vocals, percussion
Teresa Muge – vocals, percussion
Margarida Guerreiro – vocals, percussion
Eduarda Alves – vocals, percussion
Já Cá Vai Roubado (Casa da Cultura de Loulé, 2001)
Tunamente Falando (Câmara Municipal Da Covilhã, 2002) Qu’É Que Tens A Ver Com Isso? (Ocarina, 2006)
The group’s purpose is to combine traditional Cante Alentejano (folk music from the Alentejo region of Portugal) with elements from other musical traditions, such as classical music.
Five musicians, of different generations, and with diversified musical formations, from the band. Five voices, one cellist, two acoustics guitarists, an accordionist and a percussionist bring an intimate style to Traditional Cante songs.
At the age of seven Pedro Jóia began his classical guitar studies with professor Paulo Valente Pereira at the cademia dos Amadores de Música de Lisboa,“ concluding the guitar course at the Conservatório Nacional de Lisboa with professor Manuel Morais in 1990.
In 1986 he began his Flamenco guitar studies initially on his own, and later attending master classes and improvement courses in Cordoba and Jerez de la Frontera (Spain) with guitarists Paco Peña and Gerardo Núñez.
He attended, between 1989 and 1992, the Escola Superior de Belas Artes de Lisboa.
Between 1990 and 1992 he taught the discipline of classical guitar at the “ Conservatório Regional de Loures.
From 1992 to 1998, he studied and worked with Manolo Sanlúcar in Córdoba and Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Spain).
In 1993, he began his concertmaster activity by performing at municipal auditoriums and music and guitar festivals.
He has worked for the theater, composing and arranging original music, such as, Lorca, Federico at the Teatro Experimental de Cascais with stage director Carlos Avilez.
Nowadays he teaches classical guitar for the higher degree in Music at the Universidade de Évora.
He has performed in various countries including Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Holland, India, Mozambique and Ivory Coast.
On the first of June 2001, he presented the show “ Variações Sobre Carlos Paredes “ at the great auditorium of the “ Centro Cultural de Belém.“
2002 confirmed the success of the previous year with several shows staged both in Portugal and abroad.
He was invited to perform in Macau with the Chinese Orchestra to play a mix of Portuguese and Chinese composition including Verdes Anos of Carlos Paredes.
“Early, Carlos Paredes’ music woke in me a strong “Portuguese” conscience.
With his legacy of a guitar family tradition originating from Coimbra, Paredes created an unmistakable, nostalgic sound, that punctuated the history of the last decades of 20th century Portugal.”
Guadiano (Farol Música, 1996) Jacarandá (Zona Música 2000)
Variações Sobre Carlos Paredes (Farol, 2001) À Espera De Armandinho (HM Música, 2007)
Your Connection to traditional and contemporary World Music including folk, roots and various types of global fusion