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The greatest figure of the Portuguese soul of the 20th century
We dedicate the cultural moment of this edition to an essential icon of our culture
– Amália Rodrigues - who would complete 100 years of life in 2020.
Amália is the queen of Fado. And she is also much more.
Singer, author and actress, a powerful woman who carried in her voice and chest the sufferings and joys of those who only know how to live intensely.
She was artistically fearless - despite shining as 'fadista' (fado singer) it was common to hear her sing foreign popular music, in Spanish, French or Italian. She even sang Gardel's tangos or flamenco.
Amália follows an artistic path that obeys only its own determinants and which is defined by a constant rebellion against the established traditions of the genre Fado.
"Fado has always been with me. At twelve I made people cry
when they heard me sing. At that point ... I ended up crying too." (AR)
Amália appears in Fado like a hurricane and turns the rules of the genre inside out...
Amália Rodrigues stands out also for the way in which she introduced innovations in the attitude and attire of the fadistas (Fado singers) that came to be transformed into true performative conventions, such as the systematic use of the black dress and shawl, the positioning in front of the guitarists (no longer behind them) and the sign language used (head tilted back, eyes half closed and arms open at the end) .
"What matters is feeling the Fado, because Fado is not to sing, it happens.
Fado is felt, not understood, nor explained." (AR)
Amalia's very own vocal style, with suspensions and improvised melismatic figures was also revolutionary,
but initially misunderstood, nicknamed by the purists of the time 'Spanishisms'!
The interest in erudite poetry is another novelty imposed by her, deciding to sing not only the lyrics of popular authors but also the great contemporary and classic Portuguese ones, despite all the critics.
A major example of it was "Primavera" with lyrics of David Mourão-Ferreira - the iconic Fado of her career.
With Amália, Fado music suffered bold challenges, not only with guitar and viola but now also with new instruments and orchestral accompaniments, very much innovative, especially when Amália met the musician and composer, Alain Oulman – which compositions were often referred to as Amália's 'operas', prejudicially.
Criticized by some of the most traditional voices of Fado at the time, acclaimed by everyone later, their work was brilliant!
"Fado Português", "Vou dar de beber à dor" and "Com que voz" are some good examples.
From poor origins, living apart from her parents large part of her childhood, she showed a love for singing from an early age and she debuted as a professional singer at the age of 19, at the Fado house "Retiro da Severa", and in the 50s Amália was already an international artist, spanning the five continents, performing in France, England, Algeria, Israel, Russia, India, Japan, the United States, Brazil or Australia, to name just a few countries.
As an actress, she made her theater debut in 1940, in the play 'Ora vai tu'.He also participates in Theater Revista e Operetas, wining several prizes.Debuts in cinema in 1947 in the film Capas Negras – another major success.
Amália, who sang what came in her soul and heart, was also the author of many poems that she interpreted and edited on disc, such the famous "Estranha forma de vida", "Lágrima", "Asa de vento", "Grito", "Gostava de ser quem era", "Trago o Fado nos sentidos", "Entrei na vida a cantar".
"I am not afraid of death, because I have faith and, above all, lucidity. I am fragile in small things, but strong in big ones." (AR)
Amália Rodrigues died on October 1999, in the city where she was born, Lisbon, at the age of 79.
The new generation of 'fadistas' is still drinking today from the renewed route of Fado that Amália embodied - generations who dare in interpretations and compositions, with innovation and irreverence alongside the tradition.
Due to the will of the singer, two months after her death, the Amália Rodrigues Foundation and House-Museum were created in Lisbon in the house where she lived most of her life.
Foundation/House-Museum Amália Rodrigues
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