18 December 2011

Fado in 2011: Notable Fado CDs, Films, etc.

This was a banner year for the fado. In addition to sound recordings, there were films, publications and some noteworthy events--most importantly UNESCO's designation of the fado as "Immaterial World Patrimony". Below is a list with a few links and even fewer comments: I'll add more of both as soon as I can. Please give your own recommendations in the comments: I'd like to know what I missed!

Below I've listed ten fado recordings from 2011. For the traditionalists, I would heartily recommend the records by Aldina Duarte and Pedro Galveias, as well as anything from the collection "Fados do Fado." The records by Fábia Rebordão and Luisa Rocha are definitely fado, though some of the tracks borrow instruments and musical stylings from other forms.

Five Notable Recordings
Fábia Rebordão. A Oitava Cor*

Aldina DuarteContos de Fados

Pedro Galveias: Loucuras de Um Fado*
Luisa Rocha: Uma Noite de Amor

Various. Fados do Fado
Five Other Recordings
Cuca Rosetta: Cuca Rosetta
Amália Rodrigues: Amália no Olympia (reissue)
Célia LeiriaCaminhos
Helena Sarmento Fado Azul
Vánia Duarte: Efeito do Fado

And in case you missed it...
Various: Biografia do Fado. This is one of the best introductions to the fado that I know of.

*available on iTunes in the US (I mention this because alot of the other records are going to be hard to find outside of Europe).

All of these are documentaries, with interviews and performances. Most are being shown on RTP, though the transmission is not always available outside of Portugal.
Fernando Maurício
  • "O Rei Sem Coroa" is a long overdue film about Fernando Maurício (left), made by Diogo Varela Silva
  • "Vida vivida" is a film about Argentina Santos, made by Gonçalo Megre. 
  • "Não sei se canto se rezo" is a second film about Argentina Santos, director unknown (to me).
  • "Heaven's Mirror" is a film about the journey of a non-Portuguese--the film's director, Joshua Dylan Myers--to the fado. No distributor yet!
  • "Fado das Horas" is a short film that is pure visual poetry, also by Diogo Varela Silva. Watch it here.

I'll have to say more about this later, but the next time you're in Lisbon check out the bookstore at the Fado Museum. In the meantime, Ellen Gray's book on the fado should be out "soon"--watch for it!

The fado has been recognized by UNESCO as Immaterial World Patrimony. Good news? Bad news?

José Fontes Rocha
I know there were others, but I did not keep a list. Maybe next year.

15 December 2011

Fado at Carnegie Hall, New York City, on January 24, 2012

The fado is about to make one of its rare Carnegie Hall appearances. In fact, this is just the fourth time that this music is to appear in the illustrious space. (Update: See my report on the show.)

The event is "Fado: From Lisbon to New York". The title should be taken literally. The singers and musicians are not just some of the best in Lisbon, they are also part of a tight-knit group that has been playing together for years. The artists span multiple generations and include two of the most influential people on the fado scene today, the singer Celeste Rodrigues and the singer, composer and lyricist Jorge Fernando.

Celeste Rodrigues
Celeste Rodrigues' reputation within the Portuguese fado community stretches back to the 1940s. She returned from a year-long stay in Brazil in 1945 with a new, distinctive style that has marked her as much more than the sister of Amália Rodrigues. While her discography includes nearly 60 releases, they are exceedingly difficult to find (with the exception of a recent release, Fado Celeste). She continues to sing in some of the most illustrious fado houses in Lisbon, and is regarded as one of the last linkages to the time when fado was not nearly as well known as it is now. Indeed, at 88 she is the oldest practicing fado singer in Lisbon (for those who are wondering, Argentina Santos is one year younger).
José Manuel Neto

Jorge Fernando and Fábia Rebordão
Celeste is being joined by two other female singers, Fábia Rebordão and Filipa Cardoso. Fábia's voice and command of the material have grown in strength and stature. In the true spirit of the fado, she is able to take an established fado and sing it like no one else has. She is also a lyricist and composer. Both Fábia and Filipa draw on both the established repertory of the fado, broadened with lyrics composed by contemporary poets such as Mário Rainho (who has written extensively for Ana Moura and many others), Aldina Duarte, Manuel de Freitas, and Jorge Fernando.

Filipa Cardoso
The musicians for this concert are among the best that the country has to offer. José Manuel Neto, who plays the Portuguese guitar, is prolific--and busy. You can find him on YouTube, wearing flip-flops and playing in an obscure tavern in the south of Portugal, and the next day on stage with the biggest names in fado. Jorge Fernando has been involved in the fado since the the days when he was contracted by Fernando Maurício and Amália Rodrigues to write and play for them. Probably his best known composition in the USA is "Chuva", as sung by Mariza.

The concert represents a confluence of all these traces of the fado, stretching back over more than forty years, yet intimately strung together.

More information on the show, including ticket information, is here. The event is being organized by MD Fado Productions, led by Michael da Silva. Thanks to DVS for the added information and clarifications on on Celeste Rodrigues' career.

05 December 2011

Artur Batalha!

Many thanks to César Ferreira (from Os Ferreiras) for posting these two videos of Artur Batalha from 1975. I make it a habit not to take up posts with links to YouTube videos, but these are truly exceptional for their rarity and quality. Plus it's Batalha!

"Tempos da Criança"

Letra: Eduardo César
Música: Clemente Pereira @ 1975

Guitarra Portuguesa: António Chaínho / José Luís Nobre Costa 
Viola: José Maria Nóbrega
Viola-Baixo: Raúl Silva

"A Cruz Que Te Dei"

Letra: Alexandre Fontes
Música: Jorge Fontes @ 1975
Guitarra Portuguesa: António Chaínho / José Luís Nobre Costa 
Viola: José Maria Nóbrega
Viola-Baixo: Raúl Silva

And years later....
"A Cruz Que Te Dei"
Guitarra Portuguesa: Carlos Gonçalves
Viola: Lelo Nogueira

For the truly committed, I put together two YouTube playlists with all the videos of Batalha singing live that I know of. The first set is mostly my videos; the second is all from others.