04 August 2010

Vítor Rodrigues

As someone I know once said, it is impossible to talk about the fado without talking about inveja, which can be understood as jealously or envy. Today I ran into a video on purofado's channel that reminded me of a particularly unpleasant bout of the inveja that involved a singer I learned of only recently, Vítor Rodrigues. 

We (some friends and I) decided to visit the Baiuca, one of our favorite places to hear fado in the Alfama. Indeed, one of the places that for us was synonymous with the fado. I was introduced to Vítor and we started talking about his work as a singer and writer, and came to the discussion of a particular poem that he had written, "Miúdo da fonte santa." When it was close to his time to sing, he said that he would be singing that one. He did, and it was great. He came over to me after singing this song and asked if I liked it. I said "Yes, very much." And he pulled out his CD and said, "Here, take it. It's a gift." Then arrived the inveja: the singer who was going to be on next said, "Vítor, are you going to sing or are you going to be trying to sell CDs?" Vítor got pretty upset at this. (For a while, the sale of CDs has not been permitted at the Baiuca--something which he knew.) What happened next was very much a full-scale argument that suddenly involved a bunch of people. Some of the singers waiting to sing left the premises. There was even some pushing. It was very unpleasant and to this day I feel some responsibility for what happened. In fact I even wrote to the owner trying to explain things from my perspective. It was a very sad way to spend our last visit there (at least for a while), and more importantly I felt to blame for getting involved perturbing the day-to-day (working) life of the fado--something I tried (with success) for an entire year not to do.

So here is Vítor Rodrigues singing Trigueirinha, a song written by Jorge Fernando and sung by many, many singers--including Artur Batalha and Jorge Costa (somebody you can read about on my other site). The lyrics in Portuguese are here.

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