Guitarist Chico Gouveia showcases one of Portugal’s beautiful musical instruments, the viola braguesa (Braguesa guitar), from northwestern Portugal. Gouveia has researched this traditional guitar and plays it old style, using traditional techniques and the oldest pitch he could find.
It’s a delightful album featuring original works by Chico Gouveia along with two traditional pieces. Gouveia also played all the instruments, combining one or more violas braguesas with classical guitars, bass, percussion and castanets.
The album includes a booklet with fascinating notes in Portuguese and English about the musical pieces history of the viola braguesa.
Portuguese guitar maestro Henrique Borges has a new album titled “Incursão” (Incursion). The recording features Henrique Borges on Portuguese guitar; Vânia Moreira on cello, Pedro Santos on accordion, Luís Teixeira on bass; Graciano Caldeira on classical guitar; and Maria João Sousa and Beatriz Jane on vocals.
The “Incursão” CD is an integral part of an artistic project that harmonizes three distinct areas: music, video and photography.
The album Incursão and the book (Urbex | Incursão) can be purchased at www.henriqueborges.pt and record stores.
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.
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.
Praça do Comércio is a beautifully-packaged album + book by Portuguese multi-instrumentalist Júlio Pereira. He’s one of the leading performers of the cavaquinho, the small Portuguese guitar which is also the ancestor of the Hawaiian ukulele.
This time, Júlio Pereira has added the braguinha to the collection of instruments he performs on Praça do Comércio. The braguinha is another small guitar, from the island of Madeira, closely related to the cavaquinho.
The 111-page book is a wealth of knowledge, with notes in Portuguese and English. It provides details and photos of the cavaquinho and braguinha, illustrations, as well as music notation.
In addition to his skill as a musician, Júlio Pereira is a talented composer. His music incorporates traditional Portuguese music as well as sounds from northern Africa, jazz and classical elements, Brazilian and Mozambican rhythms, flamenco and other influences.
The lineup on Praça do Comércio includes Júlio Pereira on cavaquinho, braguinha, bouzouki, synthesizer, viola braguesa, guitar, backing vocals; Miguel Veras on guitar; Sandra Martins on cello; Luciano Vasconvelos on bass; Quiné on percussion; Diego Duque on trumpet; James Hill (ukulele); José Manuel Neto on Portuguese guitar; Pedro Jóia on guitar; Norberto Gonçalves da Cruz on bandolim.
Guest vocalists: António Zambujo (Portugal), Olga Cerpa (Canary Islands, Spain), Chney Wa Gune (Mozambique), Luanda Cozetti (Brazil), Teresa Melo Campos (Portugal), Mariana Abrunheiro (Portugal), Inés Melo Campos (Portugal), and Andreaia Joao Lopes.
Praça do Comércio is an exquisitely-crafted album that highlights the beauty of the small guitars from the eastern Atlantic.
Quantas Tribos is an album by superb Portuguese singer and composer Marta Dias. It’s a beautiful album of Afro-rooted and Portuguese music that highlights Marta’s voice as well as duets and great interplay with male vocalist Costa Neto.
Marta Dias has family roots in Sao Tome (West Africa). The lyrics are poems by five leading poets from Sao Tome and Principe: Alda Espirito Santo, Conceição Lima, Fernando de Macedo, Francisco José Tenreiro and Maria Manuela Margarido.
Most of the music was composed by guitarist Osvaldo Santos and features a tasty mix of masterful guitar, percussion, nostalgic accordion and exquisite fretless electric bass.
Jazz vocal wizard Carmen Souza appears as guest on one song.
The lineup on Quantas Tribos includes Marta Dias on vocals; Osvaldo Santos on classical guitar; Yuri Daniel on bass; Ruca Rebordãao on percussion; João Frade on accordion; and Costa Neto on vocals. Guests: Carmen Souza and Kalaf on vocals.
Marta Dias’ earlier albums include YUÉ (União Lisboa, 1997), Aqui (Farol Música, 1999) and Ao Vivo no CCB (Movieplay, 2003).
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.
Danças Ocultas is a Portuguese diatonic accordion quartet that has developed an innovative sound that crosses musical boundaries. Amplitude was recorded live during the ensemble’s concerts at the Casa da Música in Oporto and at the Centro Cultural de Belém in Lisbon.
On Amplitude, Danças Ocultas collaborates with a classical music orchestra, the Filarmonia das Beiras; fado vocalist Carminho; contemporary folk music band Dead Combo; and former Madredeus and Sétima Legião musician Rodrigo Leao.
Most of the material on Amplitude is original material by Danças Ocultas along with a composition by Rodrigo Leao and a recreation of a traditional Portuguese folk song.
The result is a beautiful set of instrumentals and songs where Portuguese folk music influences are interweaved with classical and jazz elements.
Danças Ocultas features accordionists Artur Fernandes, Filipe Ricardo, Filipe Cal and Francisco Miguel. The four musicians got together in 1989 with the goal of exploring all the sound possibilities the diatonic accordion, known in Portugal as concertina.
Amplitude features memorable accordion performances and interplay by Danças Ocultas and their guests.
Diabo A Sete – Figura de Gente (Sons Vadios, 2016)
Figura de Gente is the third album by an excellent Portuguese contemporary folk music band from Coimbra called Diabo A Sete.
The group plays original music inspired by Portuguese folk music. They use a wide-range of traditional instruments ranging from flutes to bagpipes and cavaquinho, featuring modern arrangements and a powerful folk-rock rhythm section including electric bass and drums.
Diabo A Sete was formed in 2003. The current lineup includes Celso Bento on ﬂutes, bagpipes, and background vocals; Eduardo Murta on bass; Luísa Correia on acoustic guitar and background vocals; Miguel Cardina on drums; and Pedro Damasceno on cavaquinho, mandolin, machinho, and background vocals. The band also features a new member, Sara Vidal on lead vocals, Celtic harp, Galician tambourine and adufe. She is currently the lead singer for the group A Presença das Formigas and is the former vocalist of acclaimed Spanish band Luar na Lubre, one of the leading Galician folk music bands.
Figura de Gente also features special guest Julieta Silva on sanfona (hurdy-gurdy), piano and background vocals.
Figura de Gente is a beautifully-crafted album by Diabo A Sete, one of the finest contemporary folk music bands in Portugal.