19 April 2012

Biography of Ricardo Ribeiro

{Note: with Ricardo Ribeiro's permission, I'm posting this English-language version of his biography. If you have a chance, check out his latest CD, "Porta do Coração", which I've written about elsewhere on this site, as well as the CD "Em Português" discussed below. Other articles about Ricardo from this site are here. An English-language translation of an interview with him is here.} 

Ricardo Ribeiro was born in Lisbon. He debuted in public at the age of 12, in The “Ajuda” Academy in the neighborhood where he grew up. In this first show he was accompanied by the guitarist Carlos Gonçalves and the violist/classical guitarist, José Inácio who became one of the major references in his career. His main influences are: FERNANDO MAURICIO, MANUEL FERNANDES and ALFREDO MARCENEIRO, all of which are old-style traditional fado singers.

"When I first heard Fernando Maurício, his singing was so intense that it made me feel a part of the story he was telling."

At the age of 15, he joined the cast of the restaurant "Os Ferreiras" in Lisbon - sharing the Fado evenings beside his master FERNANDO MAURICIO and ADELINO DOS SANTOS (guitarist). Through this experience and by studying everything that involves Fado, Ricardo Ribeiro gained a great knowledge of the traditional style of Fado, specifically, the old-style traditional Fado. Later he was part of the cast of the typical restaurant "Nónó" in Bairro Alto, which opened the doors for him to the most important Fado Houses in Lisbon.

  • In 2001 at the invitation of the French Ministry of Culture, he attended the festival in ALU, at the House of Maria Casares (Southern France).
  • He participated in the tribute disc to Amalia Rodrigues by the editor World Connection.
  • In 2004 he released his first album - "RICARDO RIBEIRO" edited by CNM (Anthology Collection).
  • In 2005 at the invitation of director Ricardo Pais, he was a part of the show "CABELO BRANCO É SAUDADE" at the National Theatre of S. João beside CELESTE RODRIGUES, ARGENTINA SANTOS and ALCINDO DE CARVALHO, which was shown in some of the most important theaters and concert halls in Europe: Cité de la Music (Paris), Teatro de la Abadia(Madrid) Frankfurt Opera, Theatre Mercandante (Naples) or Casa da Música (Oporto).
  • He was part of the cast of the famous film "Fados" by director Carlos Saura.
  • He has collaborated in projects with some of the biggest names in Portuguese music: JOÃO GIL, RÃO KYAO and PEDRO JÓIA.
  • With the lute player RABIH ABOU KHALIL he arouses the attention of international critics.
The album “EM PORTUGUES” of the Lebanese musician has a repertoire fully interpreted in Portuguese. The interpretation of Ricardo Ribeiro received many acclaims and the very best compliments. This album was released in 2008 by ENJA RECORDS. All compositions by RABIH ABOU KHALIL are from poems by SILVA TAVARES, MARIO RAINHO,  TIAGO TORRES DA SILVA amongst others. "EM PORTUGUES" was voted one of the 10 best albums "Top of the World" in the British magazine "Songlines," which refers to Ricardo Ribeiro as "... the rising star of Lisbon Fado".

 In the words of RABIH ABOU KHALIL , Ricardo Ribeiro as a singer cannot be expressed better: “Working with Ricardo is an exhilarating experience. A musician; so instinctive and natural, so deeply rooted in his culture that at all times he manages to transcend it. A singer so unusual; he never attempts to stand alone, but connects with the musicians, never missing a beat, inspiring them and letting them equally inspire him. Ricardo Ribeiro is not a singer. Or, to be more precise, not only a singer. There is a very important element of expression in Arabic music called “Tarab”. A term not easily translatable, it describes the feeling of being emotionally moved by music. Perhaps the closest to it would be the Portuguese expression of “Saudade”. A singer who can make his listeners feel “Tarab” is a “Mutrib”. Ricardo is not a singer, he is a mutrib. Ricardo Ribeiro is not just a cantor, he is a saudador...”

He participated with two themes in the film "RIO TURVO" directed by EDGAR PERA alongside Teresa Salgueiro and Nuno Melo. In 2010 he participated in "FILME DO DESASSOSEGO", a film directed by JOÃO BOTELHO and based entirely on the heteronym “Bernardo Soares” created by the Famous Portuguese writer Fernando Pessoa. In this film Ribeiro sang two songs, one of which was played and composed by him.

However, it is with Fado that he truly identifies himself: “Fado is all that happens. When we laugh or cry when we remember or forget. When we love or hate.”

  • 1996- 2nd place in The Grande Noite do Fado, Lisbon. 1997 and 1998 – 1st Place in The Grande Noite do Fado, Lisbon. 2005 - Male Award Revelation by “The Amalia Rodrigues Foundation”. 2006 - Award of Revelation by “Casa da Imprensa”. 2011 - Award for best interpreter awarded by “The Amália Rodrigues Foundation”.
  • "DOOR OF THE HEART", the latest album by Ricardo Ribeiro released on April 19th, 2010 went directly to the 5th place in top national sales. It was produced by Ricardo Ribeiro, with the collaboration of Pedro de Castro (Portuguese guitar) and Jaime Santos (Viola/Classical Guitar).

Currently Ricardo Ribeiro sings in the Famous Fado House, “O Faia” (www.ofaia.com) and the Typical and Charismatic Fado House “Mesa de Frades” (www.facebook.com/pages/Mesa-de-Frades) set in a 17th Century Chapel in Alfama, a traditional historic quarter of Lisbon.

Ricardo Ribeiro is more than just a Fado singer. Currently he is working on a project with the ingenious guitarist, Pedro Jóia, accompanied by, the greatly talented Rui Borges Maia(flute), Yuri Daniel (bass) and Vicky Marques (drums). This project transcends Fado as it takes us on a journey with the dynamic quintet that spans the musical worlds of the Mediterranean and the wealth that they carry.  The combination of Fado, Flamenco and the music of the Maghreb are treated with all the passion that emanates from their common matrix.

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