Amalia Rodrigues tonight. If you’re a fan of World Music and the Portuguese genre of Fado singing, you will known instantly who this is. Amalia Rodrigues was known by most everyone in Europe as The Queen Of Fado. Fado is a style of singing that is heavily laden with emotion and expression. It’s hard to put a non-Portuguese description to it, because there really isn’t anything to compare it to in the English language.
Rodrigues was instrumental in popularizing Fado worldwide and travelled internationally throughout her career. She became one of the most important figures during the genre’s revival in the twentieth century and was a leading female fadista during her 50-year recording and stage career. Rodrigues remains an iconic figure and inspiration to other fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, Mariza and Cristina Branco. As of 1999, she had sold over 30 million records worldwide. Amália remains the best-selling Portuguese artist in history.
Rodrigues started singing as an amateur around 1935. Her first professional engagement in a fado venue took place in 1939, and she quickly became a regular guest star in stage revues. Around that time she met Frederico Valério, a classically trained composer who immediately recognized Amália’s potential and composed numerous melodies especially designed for her voice. Valério also ventured beyond the fado musical traditions by adding orchestral accompaniments. Some of those works are fado classics today, such as ‘Fado do Ciúme’, ‘Ai Mouraria’, ‘Que Deus Me Perdoe’, and ‘Não Sei Porque Te Foste Embora.’
By the early 40’s, Amália had become a famous singer in Portugal.
She gained popularity beyond Portugal, in countries like Spain, Brazil (where, in 1945, she made her first recordings on Brazilian label Continental) where she spent some time and Paris (1949) where she resided. In 1950, while performing at the Marshall Plan international benefit shows, she introduced the song ‘April in Portugal‘ to international audiences, under its original title “Coimbra”.
In the early 1950s, the patronage of Portuguese poet David Mourão-Ferreira marked the beginning of a new phase in her career: Rodrigues sang with many of the country’s poets, and some wrote lyrics specifically for her. Her relationship with poetry contributed to changes in traditional fado and elevated this traditionally working-class Lisbon music genre, to new dimensions whereby leading poets started collaborating with and writing specifically for her.
This 45 ep, released in 1962 features four songs; Raies, Cansaço, Anjo Inutil and Job and is accompanied by Domingos Camarinha and Castro Mota.
Something a bit different this weekend – something to broaden the horizons.