Amalia Rodrigues

Amalia Rodrigues is remembered as the greatest exponent of the “fado” music genre: internationally she is recognized as the most famous Portuguese singer ever. She was born in the Beira Baixa region (Portugal) on 23 July 1920. Her date of birth remains uncertain and mysterious because Amalia is used to celebrating her birthday not on the 23rd, but on July 1st. The family of the future singer and actress is poor and very numerous: she has two brothers and four sisters. Precisely because of financial constraints, her parents send her to live in Lisbon with her grandmother, Ana do Rosario Bento. But even her grandmother does not live in better conditions: she has sixteen children and at least twice as many grandchildren. Amalia does not receive, therefore, the affection necessary to educate her melancholic spirit to joy. Soon the little girl’s singing talents were noticed by relatives and friends, in front of whom she performed to receive candy and some change. She sings mainly folk songs and Gardel’s tangos, which she learns at the cinema. She attends school regularly until she is twelve years old. Then her grandmother forces her to get a job.
Her first job is in a candy factory, where she wraps candies and peels fruit. After that, at the age of fifteen, she worked in a stall on the quay in Lisbon from which she dispenses fruit, wine, and souvenirs to tourists. In 1940, when he was only twenty, he married an amateur guitarist, whose real job was as a mechanical turner. It’s actually a repairman’s wedding because she’s pregnant. The man initially doesn’t want to know and Amalia is so desperate that she tries to commit suicide with rat poison. The marriage lasts only three years. That child will never be born, nor will her life be cheered by any birth afterward. However, she found love stability with a Brazilian industrialist, César Séabra, whom she married after fifteen years of living together in 1961. In 1938 Amalia Rodrigues participated in a competition, the winner of which would be crowned as the new Queen of Portuguese Fado. She didn’t win the competition, but her voice was noticed: she entered one of the major Fado Houses of that period: “O Retiro da Sevra”. From this moment on, her career as a singer began, sharing the stage with the major Portuguese Fado singers and musicians, including Armando Augusto Freire, Jaime Santos, José Marque. Unfortunately, he finds himself, at the same time, having to fight against the opposition of his family, convinced that that world is made exclusively of perdition and degradation. Only her brother Felipe and her trusted aunt Idalina, who would always be close to her in times of difficulty, supported her choice. In the meantime Amalia also manages to establish a working relationship with an impresario, José de Melo, who, however, given the great success of her shows, initially prevents her from recording records, fearing that this would have led to lower audience participation in live performances. She recorded her first record only in 1945, obtaining from this moment the collaboration of great guitarists and lyricists including poets: Linhares Barbosa and Amadeu do Vale. Fado became his reason for living and with this music, he found an outlet for his tormented, restless and melancholic soul. She herself says that it is the fado that sings through her and not vice versa. The first real concert dates back to 1945 in Rio de Janeiro, at the Casino of Copacabana. Henri Verneuil’s film “Les amants du Tage” helped to make her even more famous. The success of the film opens the doors of the Olympia Theatre in Paris, consecrating it internationally. After her marriage, she plans to retire from the scene, but two years later she returns with a bespoke record created for her by Alain Oulman. Her career also took her abroad: to Spain, Brazil, the United States and Italy, where she remade some songs of the popular tradition of the Bel Paese, including the Calabrian “Vitti na crozza” and the Neapolitan “La tarantella”, as well as two duets with Roberto Murolo on the notes of “Dicintincello vuje” and “Anema e core”. In the mid-seventies, following the “Carnation Revolution”, she experienced a period of decline due to her identification with the dictatorship of Salazar, which she did not want and did not seek. During this period she intensified her tours abroad until she discovered that she was suffering from cancer. The new socialist Portuguese government rehabilitates the figure of Amalia Rodrigues, but by now she has retired to private life in her home on Rua S. Bento in Lisbon. Here she died on 6 October 1999, at the age of 79. he best exponent of the singing genre known as fado and, internationally, recognized as the voice of Portugal.

Discography

1945 – As penas
1945 – Perseguição
1945 – A tendinha
1945 – Sei finalmente
1945 – Fado do ciume
1945 – Ojos verdes
1945 – Corria atrás das cantigas (Mouraria)
1945 – Carmencita
1945 – Los piconeros
1945 – Passei por você
1945 – Troca de olhares
1945 – Duas luzes
1945 – Ai, Mouraria
1945 – sardinheiras
1945 – Maria da Cruz
1945 – Só à noitinha (saudades de ti)
1951/52 – Fado do ciúme
1951/52 – Fado malhoa
1951/52 – Não sei porque te foste embora
1951/52 – Amalia
1951/52 – Ai, Mouraria
1951/52 – Que Deus me perdoe
1951/52 – Sabe-se lá
1951/52 – Confesso
1951/52 – Fado da saudade
1951/52 – Dá-me um beijo
1951/52 – Fado marujo
1951/52 – Fado das tamanquinhas
1951/52 – Ave-Maria fadista
1951/52 – Fria claridade
1951/52 – Fado da Adiça
1951/52 – Minha canção é saudade
1951/52 – La porque tens cinco pedras
1951/52 – Quando os outros batem
1953 – Novo Fado da Severa
1953 – Uma Casa Portuguesa
1954 – Primavera
1955 – Tudo isto é fado
1956 – Foi Deus
1957 – Amália no Olympia
1958 – Alfama
1962 – Amália
1963 – Povo que lavas no rio
1964 – Estranha forma de vida
1965 – Amália canta Luís de Camões
1966 – Fado do Ciúme
1967 – Amália Canta Portugal I
1969 – Formiga Bossa Nossa
1971 – Oiça lá, ó Senhor Vinho
1972 – Cheira a Lisboa
1957 – Amália no Olympia
1962 – Busto
1965 – Fado Português
1967 – Fados 67
1969 – Marchas de Lisboa
1969 – Vou dar de beber à dor
1970 – Amália/Vinicius
1970 – Com que voz
1970 – Amália Rodrigues in Concert
1971 – Amália Canta Portugal II
1971 – Oiça Lá Ó Senhor Vinho
1971 – Amália no Japão
1971 – Cantigas de amigos
1972 – Amália Canta Portugal III
1972 – Amália em Paris
1973 – A una terra che amo
1974 – Amalia in Italia
1974 – Amália no Café Luso
1976 – Amália no Canecão
1976 – Cantigas da boa gente
1977 – Fandangueiro
1971 – Anda o Sol na Minha Rua
1977 – Cantigas numa Língua Antiga
1980 – Gostava de Ser Quem Era
1982 – Amália Fado
1983 – Lágrima
1984 – Amália na Broadway
1985 – O Melhor de Amália – Estranha forma de vida
1985 – O Melhor de Amália, vol. 2 – Tudo isto é fado
1990 – Obsessão
1992 – Abbey Road 1952
1997 – Segredo

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