19 May 2011

Vergílio Pereira

Very sad news: Vergílio Pereira, one of the disc jockeys at Rádio Amália, has died, rather suddenly I believe. Since leaving Portugal, I have had many opportunities to listen to him, as his shift went from 8pm to midnight Lisbon time. He did alot to publicize the day-to-day of the fado, including his weekly shows of the "fado vadio", where he would invite singers and musicians to perform in the studio, in front of a small audience. Alot of the podcasts of these shows are available through subscription via iTunes (free, of course), or can be downloaded directly from podomatic. It seemed, no matter the quality of the singer, he was always appreciative of their willingness to perform live on the air, and to be interviewed. The questions were great, very human and intimate: "And what do you do for a living?" "Do you have any recordings?" "You have an extraordinary voice. How long have you been singing?"

He was also a nonstop admirer and promoter of Amália Rodrigues' music--and it sometime seemed that every other fado he played was by "a nossa diva Amália Rodrigues". He also played alot of music by Fernando Maurício and others associated with the fado castiço.

One evening's broadcast really stands out for me. It was very, very late, and he said "I know there are alot of taxi drivers out there listening to this show. I want to dedicate this fado to you." The man was pure class.

According to Rádio Amália, the funeral is today, 20 May 2011, in Camarate, at 16:00 Lisbon time.

Some photos:
Vergílio Pereira is second from right


Unfortunately, I also have to note that the guitarist in the second set of photos--João Chitas--also died recently.

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