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.


  1. Are there discount tickets available?

  2. I really am not sure. Maybe contact the promoter (or Carnegie Hall). Perhaps there is a student discount?