Inga Oliveira at 92.0 (Rádio Amália) has been running some very informative interviews lately with fadistas. The program is called "Estrela da tarde" ("Star of the afternoon") and in addition to interviews there are live in-studio performances. Over the last couple of days I have been doing alot of driving, and so had a chance to catch up on a few of the programs via its podcasts.
Dulce Pontes. I was a little bit surprised when I saw her listed as a guest. I am not hugely familiar with her repertory, but always had the impression that she was not a traditional fado singer. But as the interview unfolded it became pretty clear that she has been connected to the fado for a long time. She told the story of meeting Amália at Amália's house (I presume the famous one in Lisbon), and staying until the wee hours of the morning talking and drinking tea. The story of her early relationship with Amália revolved around her performance of the song "Lagrima" ("Tear"--the kind you cry), which Pontes recorded early in her career (listen below) and which Amália had recorded much earlier. (This part of the conversation starts around 2:55 into the interview, when she says "The person who gave me the desire to sing fado was Amália"). Evidently (4:18) Pontes did not contact Amália about recording "Lagrima", but Amália noticed the performance and (it seems) invited her for a visit. Pontes did not go into alot of detail about the conversation that went on that night, which is too bad!
Pontes goes on to talk about the innovations that Amália brought into the fado (others might call some of these innovations degradations), which included new poems, composers (and I would say also instrumentation and orchestration). Indeed, if you listen to some of the later work from Pontes, you'll hear plenty of music that sounds related to fado, but that is also related to other musics. The point made in one of the other podcasts, by José Gonçalez (who was there with António Pinto Basto). But more on this in the next post.