29 August 2010
Herman José, a TV personality on RTP (the big Portuguese network), has been around and involved in the fado in one way or another for a long time. He plays the clown, but I think he is dead serious. I want to talk briefly about this clip from a very recent show.
Herman is interviewing Ricardo Ribeiro, who has a second CD out now (very good by the way), called Porta do Coração (Gateway to the heart). Herman gives Ricardo Ribeiro a little quiz ("With whom is the following fado associated?"), then there's a brief discussion about the record, then it's off to the races with Ricardo singing "Agua Louca da Ribeira".
My understanding is that Ricardo, along with Pedro Galveias and a bunch of other singers, learned part of what he knows ("in life and about the fado", according to Ricardo) via Fernando Maurício--a singer known exceedingly well in Portugal, but not outside. Here he is singing on Herman José's show (date unknown, but obviously more than a few years ago). This is by far the best quality video of Fernando Maurício on youtube (the section with Fernando Maurício starts at roughly 3:00 into the video).
Fernando Maurício sang the last 11 or so years of his life at Os Ferreiras, and that's where Pedro and Ricardo worked with him. Here is a desgarrada happening there. Very sadly, the owner of the restaurant, António Ferreira, died recently.
Back to Ricard Ribeiro. At the end of the fado, Herman asks Ricardo Ribeiro to introduce the musicians. On the guitarra Portuguesa is Pedro de Castro, one of the bosses of the Mesa de Frades in Alfama (if you stay really, really late you might here Ricardo Ribeiro there). On the viola is Jaime Santos Jr., the son of a tremendous guitarist and composer, Jaime Santos (played with Amália), who is himself an excellent musician ("perfect marks" in music school, I was once told). On the viola baixa is Professor Joel Pina, who is 90 and still playing actively. He played with Amália, played with everybody--including Raul Nery (who played Portuguese guitar for Maria Teresa de Noronha and obviously tons of others). His presence causes Herman to get out of chair.
On the couch is Rui Nery, who is Raul Nery's son and probably the highest profile musicologist of the fado. Nery goes on to say something beautiful, which is that it was Jaime Santos' father who gave him his first watch. Moreover, Jaime Santos Junior later became one of his (Rui's) students at the music academy in music history. Interview continues here.
I am hoping beyond hope that Rui Nery puts together a biography of his father.
Anyway there you go. These kinds of connections (as Nery called them) are completely common in the fado. Everybody knows everybody. Sometimes that works out beautifully (as here), and sometimes it produces the INVEJA.
Stick around for the end of Herman's show, where Maria da Fe sings. Joel Pina stays on to play the viola baixa.
Thanks to Ricardo Ribeiro for verifying the story about Fernando Maurício and Os Ferreiras. I should note that there's an English translation of an interview with him here.
There is way too much to talk about in the fado...