31 July 2012

Fado and piano??? OK, maybe this one time!

Maria Ana Bobone has a new record out--fado and piano. I've heard this sort of thing before--or thought I had. I went once to hear a live performance with two guitarists, one pianist and one singer--all top-notch. Total disaster. Tonally, it was a three-way fight, but perhaps they hadn't done enough practicing to enable them to compose dialogue in real time. In any case, I've never heard the combination yield good results.

Until now, of course. Maria Ana Bobone has arrived with a new hypothesis: fado for voice and piano, accompanied on some tracks by a contrabass and/or (ahem) a guitar. The voice+piano combination is not so revolutionary, as Amália Rodrigues herself experimented with it, but that was different (this was work with Alain Oulman during recitals, and I believe the "formal" recorded output is pretty small.) There's also a theory that fado was "originally" performed with voice and piano, but that is an argument for another day!

Back to this record. Perhaps because Maria Ana Bobone is both playing and singing, I think the combination works perfectly well here. Admittedly, I've not heard the whole record, but--if the combination was going to fail--it would have failed on the tracks I heard. The piano playing is heartfelt, deeply steeped in the fado, and the voice is crystalline. Somehow I'll have to get my hands on a complete copy (looks like it's available through the US-based iTunes). For the moment, here's a video that showcases her art. If anybody has heard the whole record and wants to comment, please do!

Que Deus Me Perdoe


  1. YOu're right :)It can be purchased on Itunes. Or, if you whant to, you can order the Cd on http://capabranca.zimbalam.com

  2. Thanks for this info! But does capabranca ship the CD outside Portugal or Europe?

  3. YES it does :) Just ask for a quote on the shipping costs. :) To Brasil the total was 15€. Payable thru Paypal.

  4. In my opinion fado for voice and piano is not a new hypotesis. What is new in “Fado & Piano” is the fact that Maria Ana Bobone plays piano and sings simultaneously. Few singers have the knowledge, the ability and the art to play piano and sing simultaneously. Since fado and the majority of the portuguese traditional songs are a kind of ritual music, transmiting feelings and emotions, the control of the cadence is extremely important and to have control on the cadence nothing better than to have one person playing and singing.

    Piano was already used in her second CD, “Senhora da Lapa” as an accompaniment for the majority of the tracks but it was played by João Paulo, another virtuoso, composer of the beautiful melody of “Senhora da Lapa” score.

    In the first CD of Maria Ana Bobone, named “Luz Destino”, published in 1996, which was more audacious than “Fado & Piano” due to the arrangements with a barroque sonority made by Ricardo Rocha, she was accompanied at the harpsichord by João Paulo, at the portuguese guitar by Ricardo Rocha himself and in some scores at the contrabass by Mário Franco.

    May be “Fado & Piano” will be more popular than the previous CDs because at first sight it looks less sophisticated. But in my opinion this is not true. In spite of sophistication and simplicity being considered as opposed, all Maria Ana's CDs, including “Fado & Piano, are simultaneously simple and sophisticated. Is there something simpler than fado and piano? On the contrary is there something more sohisticated than voice conveing both excitement and joy in a quiet way accompanied on the piano with a harmonious arrangement ? Schubert's “lieder” are certainly good examples of the combination of simplicity and sophistication and I believe “Fado & Piano” is also another good example.

  5. Many thanks for this informative and insightful commentary. If you approve, I'd like to put your comment as its own post on this blog. I am sure that quite alot of people will be interested in reading it. (As you probably know, comments in blogger are not that easy to show.) Let me know and I'll take care of it ASAP. Thanks.

    1. You can publish it. It is better to use may real name: Aldemar Fernandes Parola because when I make a comment,I dont know why, Google automaticaly places the name of one of my blogs. I have made the same comment translated in portuguese in the page http://www.facebook.com/mariaanabobone.

  6. I have had this cd for a few weeks now and have listened to it a lot. Though Bobone has always been a good singer, this time she is better than ever and has found the perfect material. She sings beautifully and her piano playing works well with her voice.
    I usually order my fado cds from ww.fnac.pt which is convenient if you live in Europe though shipping costs are expensive (DHL).
    Best regards,
    Ulf Bergqvist

  7. Ulf--thanks for the comment!

  8. I've had the CD for a while - listened many times. Very addictive! :)
    I love each and every song on it, which for me is very rare indeed!
    I love the piano playing, I love Maria Ana's singing, the lightness of her vocal 'touch'.
    Not speaking Portuguese, I enjoy the two songs, sung in English -I believe, she writes her own lyrics- the poetry is beautiful and touching!
    I am definitely 'hooked' and look forward to more in the future!
    Highly recommended!
    Best, Diz

  9. Diz--thank you for the comment.

  10. You should listen to Cristina Branco's Ulisses (2005) if you are not convinced with the good comibination of portuguese guitar (Custodio Castelo) & piano (Ricardo Dias)

  11. Thanks Mark! I really love Cristina's voice, and I think Custódio's playing is always excellent. I know a few tracks from the album but will give it another listen. Cheers!

  12. Hi DM,

    I adore both CB & MAB among others (Mafalda Arnauth, Carla Pires, Misia, Mariza, Katia Guerreiro, Aldina Duarte, Ana Moura, Helena Sarmento, etc.) Because I am so hooked with Ulisses the first time I listened to the album, when I heard MAB is doing the same style, I never hesitated to try. I just ordered the Fado & Piano CD at kbranca.com and hope to receive it in 2 weeks time.


  13. Hi everybody, just letting you know that we have a new website.
    Just go to http://www.kbranca.com/ to find out more on her, listen to the songs, view the photos & videos or buy the cd.

  14. Gabriela Leitao10 June, 2013

    you must lisen Mário Moita he makes ONLY piano and voice all over the world for more them 15 years!