Tag: Ana Moura

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Portugal's top-selling modern Fado singer, singing in both strict traditional style and her own subtly updated version. Her music has an enormous emotional range, from brooding, sad and desperate to witty social comment. Born outside Lisbon at Santarém in the Tagus valley.

Poems by Fernando Pessoa set to music

There is a song of the people
I can't even say if it is a Fado
But it is so comforting
This vague and sad song
That my soul no longer cries

Here's Mariza singing the whole song.

Mariza "Há uma musica do Povo"

1. Mariza "Há uma musica do Povo" (There is a song of the people)

Music: Mário Pacheco
Portuguese guitar: Luís Guerreiro

Inevitably Fadistas would like this one. But a whole host of Pessoa's other poems have been set to music, many of them as Fado, but in other styles too. In this post there's a selection.

Here are the words of the poem Mariza is singing in Portuguese, with my English free translation below each verse.

Há uma musica do Povo,
Nem sei dizer se é um fado -
Que ouvindo-a há um chiste novo
No ser que tenho guardado

There is a song of the people,
I can't even say if it's a Fado.
When I hear it it is like a new joke
Played on the me I've been guarding.

Ouvindo-a sou quem seria
Se desejar fosse ser
É uma simples melodia
Das que se aprendem a viver

Listening to it I am who I'd be
If only wishing was enough.
It's a simple melody
Of those who learn to live.

Mas é tão consoladora
A vaga e triste canção
Que a minha alma já não chora
Nem eu tenho coração

But it is so comforting,
This vague and sad song
That my soul no longer cries
Even if I don't have a heart.

Sou uma emoção estrangeira,
Um erro de sonho ido…
Canto de

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Ana Moura sings a bold feminist Fado

Ana Moura "Amor afoito"

Ana Moura "Amor afoito" (Bold love)

Portuguese guitar: Ângelo Freire
Music: Jorge Benvinda
Words: Nuno Figueiredo (both of the band Virgem Suta)
From the 2012 album "Desfado"

This song is a masterpiece of both singing and the Portuguese guitar. It also has innovative words. It's from her top-selling album Desfado (Unfado), which sets out to expand the range of topics and moods Fado can deal with.

What it's about: Here Ana is setting out her terms for a relationship. She is speaking directly and boldly to her lover, telling them what she expects and how the two of them can proceed. This is a far cry from the usual subject matter of Fado, which is rich in songs of regret, hopeless yearning and despair. Here the fadista is flirtatious and assertive. You get the feeling that her lover, who she addresses as tonto (silly), is likely to comply.

Dou-te o meu amor,
Se mo souberes pedir, tonto,
Não me venhas com truques, pára,
Já te conheço bem demais

I'll give you my love,
If you know how to ask for it, silly,
Don't come to me with tricks, stop it,
I already know you too well.

The YouTube video above has the lyrics in Portuguese on-screen in an easy to follow way. The audio is the album version. Desfado by the way is still the top-selling Portuguese album - in any genre, of all time.

Here's a live version of Ana singing it. This has the lyrics in Portuguese in the YouTube description (viewable on most devices).

Ana Moura "Amor afoito" live


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Ana Moura and Mariza recycle a classic Fado tune

Table of contents

This tune goes back over 100 years, deep into the history of Fado. It keeps reappearing with different words, as a new song with a new name, coming back to life on the breath of each singer. This is one of the keys to Fado's survival - it's a tradition that keeps reinventing itself for new generations of listeners.

Ana Moura "Ninharia"

Ana Moura "Ninharia" (A trifling matter)

Portuguese guitar: Ângelo Freire
Music: Carlos Da Maia
Words: Maria do Rosário Pedreira
From the 2016 album "Moura". This live performance is from the Coliseu in Porto.

What it's about: Ana has argued with someone about a matter of no importance ("ninharia" - a trifling matter or trifle in English) and now regrets it. Worse, it was her lover. She saw something in their eyes that caused her to throw them out. And, as fate would have it, into the arms of another woman.

Now Ana is alone. But there is nothing she can do about it. Whenever she sees her former lover she realises that the break-up was her own fault, is overcome with emotion and simply can't face approaching them to try and make up. Instead she just howls about her plight.

This is Fado!

Here's an extract from the lyrics in Portuguese, with my English free translation below.

Precipitada, incontida
Expulsei-te da minha vida
Por uma coisa de nada!

Rashly, without restraint
I threw

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Why Portuguese stress patterns sound natural to English-speakers

Compare Erika Ender singing Despacito in Spanish to Ana Moura singing Ninharia in Portuguese. How easily can you spot the key words and how many can you spot? If you are a native or fluent English speaker you may find your ear picks up the clues more easily in Portuguese.

Erika Ender singing in the syllable-time language Spanish
Ana Moura singing in the Portuguese of Portugal, a stress-timed language

You can find out more about these two compelling songs at Erika Ender sings Despacito and Ana Moura sings Ninharia. Here we'll focus on a key difference in the sound patterns of the two languages, which applies as much or more in spoken Spanish or Portuguese as it does in song.

Stress and rhythm in languages

One welcome thing about the Portuguese of Portugal - if you are coming from a language like English, German or Russian, is that the stress pattern tends to sound natural. This is because European Portuguese, like English, German and Russian, is stress-timed.

By contrast, all the Latin-based languages of Europe apart from Portuguese - Italian, French, Romanian, Spanish and Catalan are syllable-timed. As, to a large extent, is Brazilian Portuguese. Many other languages are too - Hindi in India, Yoruba in Nigeria and Welsh in the UK.

For English speakers, this similarity in stress pattern between English and the Portuguese of Portugal is useful if you are trying to understand a song. The words the singer seems to be emphasising - say coraSOWng (coração - heart), SHOOva (chuva - rain) or desTEENoo (destino - destiny), really are the important ones for the meaning.

Meanwhile the syllables they mumble, or sometimes

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Who are some of the greatest interpreters of Portuguese Fado?

I'll concentrate on singers still performing today. I usually mention the principal guitarist too, particularly if they are playing the high-pitched Portuguese guitar, sometimes called the Fado guitar. This is pretty important, as it often performs almost a duet with the singer, and is a key part of the performance. In other cases an ordinary acoustic guitar can play this role, or even a piano. Or the singer can dominate.

Cuca Roseta "Triste sina"

Cuca Roseta "Triste sina" (Sad fate)

Portuguese guitar: Ângelo Freire

This song is one of many associated with the late Amália Rodrigues, and has had many modern interpreters. Here Cuca Roseta sticks fairly closely to a classic simple, almost stark, Fado form. Unpretentious but spellbinding.

Mísia "Tive um curação, perdi-o"

Mísia "Tive um curação, perdi-o" (I had a heart, but I lost it)

Portuguese guitar: Luís Guerreiro

This isn't entirely typical of Lisbon Fado, but it is representative of Mísia, who as a performer is never under-dramatic! The song is again from the repertoire of Fado legend Amália Rodrigues, who wrote the words.

After the revolution in 1974–1975, and the opening up of Portugal to modern western music and culture after the censorship of the dictatorship, Fado fell out of fashion. Mísia has played a key role as a bridge between Amália and the Fado stars of today, convincing record companies Fado could still have a market and popularising it around the world.

Mariza "Medo"

Mariza "Medo" (Fear)

Portuguese guitar: Luís Guerreiro (plus an entire orchestra - which usually gets in the way with Fado but in this

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