To write about Fado without mentioning Amália Rodrigues is like writing about pastry without mentioning flour or sugar. There was a lot to say about this unique woman that brought so much richness to this particular music style and that divulged it worldwide with her unique voice.
It´s almost impossible to use the word Fado without linking it to the name Amália and I´m pretty sure that there are a lot of foreign folks out there that would not even know where Portugal is if they didn´t linked the name Amália to my country. I won´t develop a lot about Amália since you can read about her and about other Fado singers in the Hiperlinks painted in Blue along the texts.
And, If I try to develop a lot about Fado and especially about Amália I would have to eventually write an entire book, and I have no interest in doing such a thing.
Not only female Fado singers made it to stardom, there are and were in the past a lot of male Fado performers that were really great. Among them is Carlos do Carmo who is thankfully still singing and is a major if not the biggest contributor to this Music style and also played a great part divulging it worldwide. To make a brief note about him let´s just say hat Carlos do Carmo is to Fado what Frank Sinatra was to jazz. He is without a doubt one of the greatest Fado singers of all times. Now I´m going to share something with you that might just shock you a bit – When I was a kid In my teens I really “HATED FADO”. How is this possible, Some of you may ask !? - Well, let me explain -Have you ever heard that sometimes somethings skip a generation ?. -You see, in the old days when my grandparents were young in the 30´s,40´s,and 50´s Fado was “hip” mostly because there were´nt a lot of music styles around. Sure, you could listen to some Jazz, Tango or Opera but the most common musical genre available to everyone was Fado that you could listen to in the taverns and on the Radio. Then in the 50´s ,60´s,and 70´s a huge new musical style kicked in hard, ROCK AND ROLL. Have you ever heard how rock n´d roll changed the world ?. -Yeah, such statement is true. Sure enough when my parents were in their teens this was the Cool thing to ear. Of course that you would still listen to Fado and some other music genres but "Heart break hotel" from Elvis and "Love me do" from the beatles and other pop songs were in the hearts and minds of the teenage Portuguese people especially because back in those days Portugal was still under the Fascist Dictatorship of Salazar. The youngsters wanted to try new things new lifestyles and most of all wanted to be free. A new music genre also appeared in those days called “Intervention music”. I will show you a bit of It in my final post. In 1974 came the carnation revolution and with It the end of Fascism.
I was born in 1974 and to tell you the truth Fado wasn´t exposed to everyone as a “pop” thing. Truth be told when I was a little kid Fado was ridiculed a lot. If one said in public school that he loved Fado he would most probably be really beaten up by the other kids. Sure enough that Fado wasn´t dead, far from It, but television and radio broad casted the American and English music styles a lot, and never forget that this were the days when rock and roll mutated into punk rock, rock ballads, heavy metal e.t.c. and these music styles exploded into a million new branches creating all sorts of new music genres. I usually call these the “FAST -FOOD DAYS”.
As mentioned before I wasn´t greatly exposed to Fado songs except when I listened to a bit of Amália on TV ( thank God she was still singing back then ) and on a few occasional times when I joined granddad in the old taverns when after a few ( probably a lot ) glasses of wine were poured and emptied one of those old timers would say something like – you guys, see If you remember this one ?! - and some old timer would start singing a tune and after that another guy would sing another different song. I guess, It was during those days that my love for Fado began to grow, very slowly but surely.
The strangest thing happened in the late 90´s and in the beginning of the year 2000. Fado once again became “hip”, I will explain why that happened in my next post and also how Fado mutated Itself from hate to love until it turned into a new Love affair for me.We have a proverb that it´s told in every Fado house before the singer starts to act. -Silêncio, que se vai cantar o Fado. -Silence, because Fado is about to be heard.
Without the need for any more words, I´ll leave to the voice of Amália Rodrigues.