Amália Rebordão Rodrigues GCSE, GCIH (23 July 1920 – 6 October 1999), better known as Amália Rodrigues (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈmaliɐ ʁuˈðɾiɣɨʃ]) or popularly as Amália, was a Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and actress. Known as the 'Rainha do Fado' ("Queen of Fado"), Rodrigues was instrumental in popularising fado worldwide and travelled internationally throughout her career. She became one of the most important figures during the genre's revival in the twentieth century and was a leading female fadista during her 50-year recording and stage career. Rodrigues remains an iconic figure and inspiration to other fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, Mariza and Cristina Branco. As of 1999, she had sold over 30 million records worldwide. Amália remains the best-selling Portuguese artist in history.
Amália Rodrigues, 1969
|Birth name||Amália Rebordão Rodrigues|
|Also known as||Rainha do Fado (Queen of Fado)|
|Born||23 July 1920|
|Died||6 October 1999 (aged 79)|
|Labels||Valentim de Carvalho|
Official documents give her date of birth as 23 July, although Amália herself maintained that her birthday was actually 1 July 1920. She was born in the Pena parish of Lisbon, Portugal. Her maternal family had roots in Souto da Casa, a parish in Fundão, Central Portugal, where Rodrigues's grandfather worked as a blacksmith.
In the Parish Church of Fundão is the baptism certificate of Rodrigues, a document also published in the Journal of Fundão after the singer's death, following an investigation by or Salvado J. Travassos who also discovered her birth certificate. According to the testimony of José Filipe Duarte Gonçalves, her only sister, Celeste, was born in Lisbon (in addition to another child who died). Rodrigues grew up in poverty. Her childhood was almost destitute and she grew up doing odd jobs like selling fruit in Lisbon's quays.
Rodrigues started singing as an amateur around 1935. Her first professional engagement in a fado venue took place in 1939, and she quickly became a regular guest star in stage revues. Around that time she met Frederico Valério, a classically trained composer who immediately recognised Amália's potential and composed numerous melodies especially designed for her voice. Valério also ventured beyond the fado musical traditions by adding orchestral accompaniments. Some of those works are fado classics today, such as 'Fado do Ciúme', 'Ai Mouraria', 'Que Deus Me Perdoe', and 'Não Sei Porque Te Foste Embora.'
By the early 40's, Amália had become a famous singer in Portugal.
Rodrigues began acting with a debut film in 1946 titled 'Capas Negras' followed by her best known movie, 'Fado' (1947).
She gained popularity beyond Portugal, in countries like Spain, Brazil (where, in 1945, she made her first recordings on Brazilian label Continental) where she spent some time and Paris (1949) where she resided. In 1950, while performing at the Marshall Plan international benefit shows, she introduced the song 'April in Portugal' to international audiences, under its original title "Coimbra".
In the early 1950s, the patronage of Portuguese poet David Mourão-Ferreira marked the beginning of a new phase in her career: Rodrigues sang with many of the country's poets, and some wrote lyrics specifically for her. Her relationship with poetry contributed to changes in traditional fado and elevated this traditionally working-class Lisbon music genre, to new dimensions whereby leading poets started collaborating with and writing specifically for her.
Amalia Rodrigues travelled abroad for the first time in 1943, to perform at a gala party held by the Portuguese ambassador in Madrid, Pedro Teotónio Pereira. She was accompanied by singer Júlio Proença and musicians Armandinho and Santos Moreira. After Spain she performed in Brasil (1945) with her first recordings, Berlin (1950), Mexico, France and many other countries, becoming an international star artist by 1954. She was the first Portuguese artist to appear to American television audiences on ABC in 1953. She also performed in Hollywood, singing at the Mocambo in 1954.
Also in 1954, Rodrigues' international career was boosted by her featuring in Henri Verneuil's film The Lovers of Lisbon (Les Amants du Tage), where she had a supporting role. By the late 1950s the US, Britain, and France had become her major international markets; followed by Japan and Italy in the 1970s. In France she almost as popular as in Portugal, and she often performed at the prestigious parisian Olympia hall. This led to the release of the album Portugal's Great Amália Rodrigues Live at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, in 1957, on Monitor Records (now under Smithsonian Folkways). Over the years, she performed nearly all over the world – going as far as the then Soviet Union and Israel.
In France during the 50-60's she often performed on television and became a well-known artist. Famous Charles Aznavour even wrote a fado in French especially for her 'Aie Mourir Pour Toi' and she also created French versions of her own songs (Coimbra became Avril au Portugal, among others). She performed at Olympia for 10 seasons between 1956 and 1992.
She then said she would sing only once in a while, but after a year's absence, she was no longer able to resist the appeal of the music. She returned in 1962 concentrating on recording and performing live, by then at a slower pace.
Her comeback album, 1962's Amália Rodrigues, was her first collaboration with French composer Alain Oulman (1929–1990), who was to become her main songwriter and musical producer over decades. Oulman wrote melodies for her which transcended the conventions of fado. Oulman, created an album, also known as 'Busto' (Bust), with a different kind of fado, with more extensions and which added traditional opera aspects: the legatos, the extension of the voice. Also in that record she sang her own poems ('Estranha Forma de Vida') and poems written by great Portuguese poets, like Pedro Homem de Mello, David Mourão-Ferreira and others. She created longlife successes, which became classics and immortal songs in Portugal, like 'Povo Que Lavas no Rio', 'Maria Lisboa' and 'Abandono'. Oulman, a left-wing intellectual, was arrested by Portugal's political police (known as PIDE) in 1966, and forced into exile, but he continued contributing with his music for Amália. He left behind many work which she made sure she recorded in later years.
She resumed her stage-career singing all over the world, including Israel, the UK, France, and returning to the USA for Promenade Concerts in Hollywood at the Hollywood Bowl, and New York City, accompanied by Andre Kostelanetz, both in 1966 and 1968, achieving extraordinary success. She also sang in the ex-USSR, Romania, among numerous other countries.
She continued her acting career, in films like 'Sangue Toureiro' (1958), and 'Fado Corrido' (1964).
Rodrigues appeared in Carlos Vilardebó's 1964 arthouse film The Enchanted Islands based on a short story by Herman Melville. Her 1965 recording of poems by 16th century poet Luís de Camões generated acres of newspaper polemics. Her 1968 single Vou dar de beber à dor broke all sales records and her 1970 album Com que voz won a number of international awards.
Having been given Portugal's Film Award for Best Actress for 'Fado' in 1947, once again she was awarded as Portugal's Best Film Actress in 1965, in a movie where she didn't sing.
In between she performed in other genres: she recorded some of her old songs with an orchestra, recorded an album with jazz saxophonist Don Byas 'Encontro' (1968), and recorded an album of American songs with Norrie Paramor's orchestra, 'Amália On Broadway' which includes a rendition of 'Summertime', 'The Nearness of You'..
An important album in the 1960s was 'Com Que Voz', (1969), reprising many of her successes and adding a few more, all poems by Portuguese-speaking poets, and music by Alain Oulman. Rodrigues was at the height of her vocal and performing powers during the 1960s.
In the 1970s Rodrigues concentrated on live concert performances. During the post-25 April 1974 period, she was falsely accused of being a covert agent of the PIDE; this unjust charge triggered a severe bout of depression on her part. While Salazar had been Prime Minister, Rodrigues had been a financial supporter of the Portuguese Communist Party. At the same time she had occasionally expressed some admiration for Salazar himself, reportedly writing love letters to Salazar when he was hospitalized in 1968. Despite the government's heavy promotion of Rodrigues as a national symbol of Portugal, in private, Salazar hated Fado and Rodrigues (whom he referred to as "that creature"), considering its central concept of 'saudade' (nostalgia or a painful yearning for the past) as anti-modern and "has a softening influence on the Portuguese character", one that "sapped all energy from the soul and led to inertia".
From the 1970s Rodrigues enjoyed particularly marked success in Italy and Japan. She recorded an album of Italian traditional songs, A Una Terra Che Amo (1973), and made versions of her own songs in Italian. She recorded live performances in an album called Amália in Italia (1978). Her return to the recording studio with Portuguese material came in 1977 with Cantigas numa Língua Antiga.
Soon after that release, Rodrigues suffered her first really serious troubles in terms of physical health, which caused her to be away from the stage for a short period again, and forced her to concentrate on performing, especially in Portugal. Those problems were followed by two very personal albums: Gostava de Ser Quem Era (1980) (literally 'I Wish I Were Who I Was') and 'Lágrima' (1983): all these songs used poems that she herself wrote. In between she sang Frederico Valerio's songs again, in an album called Fado (1982).
The 1980s and 1990s brought her enthronement as a living legend. Her last all-new studio recording, Lágrima, was released in 1983. It was followed by a series of previously lost or unreleased recordings and two greatest hits collections.
Rodrigues returned to the Olympia in Paris in 1985 for a series of concerts. From 1985 to 1994, she enjoyed great international success. During these years she held concerts in France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, and the USA, in addition to Portugal.
In 1990 the celebrations of her 50th career anniversary started with a major concert in Lisbon's Coliseu dos Recreios at the age of 69. She was decorated by the President of the Republic on stage. Her voice had changed: it was lower in pitch and had acquired a new intensity.
Despite a series of illnesses involving her voice, Rodrigues continued recording as late as 1990. She eventually retreated from public performance, although her career gained in stature with an official biography by historian and journalist Vítor Pavão dos Santos, and a five-hour TV series documenting her half-century-long career featuring rare archival footage (later distilled into the 90-minute film documentary, The Art of Amália). Its director, Bruno de Almeida, has also produced Amália, Live in New York City, a concert film of her 1990 performance at The Town Hall.
Rodrigues launched a final album of originals in 1990, Obsessão. In December 1994 she gave her last concert, aged 74, during the Lisbon European Capital of Culture concerts. She underwent a lung operation soon after, in 1995. Television specials, interviews and tributes were held. She released a new album with original recordings from the 1960s and 1970s, Segredo (1997), and a book of her poems, including the ones she had sung: Amália: Versos (1997).
In 1998 Rodrigues was paid a national tribute at Lisbon's Universal Exhibition (Expo '98), and in February 1999 was considered one of Portugal's 25 more important personalities of the democratic period. Soon after she recorded what would become her last interview for television. The 'Cinématheque de Paris' did her a tribute in April 1999, by showing some of her movies.
On 6 October 1999, Rodrigues died, aged 79 at her home in Lisbon. Portugal's government promptly declared three days of national mourning. Her house, in Rua de São Bento, is now a museum. She is buried at the National Pantheon alongside other Portuguese notable figures.
She was given a state funeral, attended by tens of thousands, and later transferred to the national Pantheon in 2001; the first woman ever to be laid among the greatest Portuguese figures, an exceptional honour awarded by Parliament.
According to her will, the Amália Rodrigues Foundation (Fundação Amália Rodrigues) was established. The foundation manages her legacy and assets, except her copyright, willed to two of her nephews. By the time of her death in 1999, Rodrigues had received more than 40 decorations and honors from France (including the Légion d'Honneur), Lebanon, Portugal, Spain, Israel and Japan.
In 2004, Italian director Francesco Vezzoli released short black-and-white film Amália Traïda. In 2007, she came in 14th in Portugal's election of Os Grandes Portugueses (The Greatest Portuguese). One year later, in 2008, a film about her life Amália was released, with Sandra Barata portraying her.
Rodrigues was once considered by Variety as one of the voices of the century. She remains one of the most international of Portuguese artists and singers, and in Portugal, a national icon. She put Fado in the world map as a musical genre, and her works continue to inspire other performers and singers today, many of whom sing her repertoire.
Rodrigues remains one of Portugal's most famous artists and singers ever. She was born into a humble family and became one of Portugal's biggest star but also an internationally recognized artist and singer. Her career spanned 55 years and she recorded songs in several languages (especially Portuguese, French, English, Spanish and Italian). Versions of her own songs, for instance "Coimbra" ("April in Portugal") achieved success in countries like France, Italy, USA, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Mexico, Romania, Japan and The Netherlands, among many others.
Rodrigues' parents had nine children but only two reached adulthood: Vicente and Filipe, José and António (all died as infants), Amália, Celeste, Aninhas (who died at sixteen), Maria da Glória (who died shortly after birth), and Odete. In 1940, she married Francisco Cruz, a lathe worker and amateur guitar player from whom she separated in 1943 and whom she divorced in 1946. In 1961, in Rio de Janeiro, she married César Seabra and remained married until his death in 1997.
This discography is not yet complete.
LPs and CDs
A Tribute To Amália Rodrigues (also known as Nova Sintra) is a compilation album in tribute to Amália Rodrigues. It was recorded in Lisbon in 2004 by the Dutch-based label World Connection and released on CD. The compilation features various singers, mainly of Latin origin, who sing versions of the fadista in different styles.Alberto Janes
Alberto Janes (1909–1971) was a Portuguese songwriter. He was one of the most popular Portuguese songwriters of the 1950s and 1960s, responsible for many of the hits of Amália Rodrigues.Alberto Ribeiro
Alberto Ribeiro (1920–2000) was a Portuguese singer and film actor. He starred alongside Amália Rodrigues in the 1947 musical film Black Capes.Amália/Vinicius
Amalia/Vinicius is a recording of the 1968 meeting between the Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes and the Portuguese singer Amália Rodrigues. In December 1968, de Moraes was travelling to Rome, where he wanted to celebrate Christmas. However, before he arrived in Italy, the poet stayed some hours in Lisbon where he met Rodrigues at her home. The LP containing these conversations was released two years later.At that event were present other Portuguese poets, like Ary dos Santos and Natália Correia. The meeting lasted hours, but the recording was edited down to only one hour. However, the tracks included in this album are considered relics of Brazilian and Portuguese poetry and music.
In 2001, the album was recorded on CD by EMI. In 2009, Biscoito Fino reissued the album on CD.Amália (film)
Amália is a 2008 Portuguese biographical film directed by Carlos Coelho da Silva and starring Sandra Barata, Carla Chambel and José Fidalgo. Barata portrays legendary Portuguese fado singer Amália Rodrigues; songs used in the film are recordings of Amália. The film has been criticised by some members of her family.Amália Revisited
Amália Revisited is a tribute album by various artists and bands to famous Portuguese fadista Amália Rodrigues. It was released on February 7, 2005 by Different World.Metrô is the only Brazilian band to take part on the album; all the other artists hail from Portugal.Amália Traïda
Amália Traïda (Portuguese: Amalia Betrayed) is a 2004 Italian short black-and-white film directed by Francesco Vezzoli and starring Lauren Bacall and Sônia Braga. The movie is a biopic about Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and actress Amália Rodrigues.April in Portugal (song)
"April in Portugal" is a popular song, also named "The Whisp'ring Serenade." The music was written by Raul Ferrão with Portuguese lyrics by José Galhardo as a fado named "Coimbra", about the city of that name in 1947. English lyrics written by Jimmy Kennedy were set to the music, though many of the most popular versions of the song were instrumentals. It is one of the signature songs of Portuguese singer and fadista Amália Rodrigues. It was also recorded in French by the tenor Luís Piçarra.Black Capes
Black Capes (Portuguese:Capas Negras) is a 1947 Portuguese musical film directed by Armando de Miranda and starring Amália Rodrigues, Alberto Ribeiro and Artur Agostinho. The film takes its name from the black capes worn by the students at the University of Coimbra. The film was an enormous success at the box office in both Portugal and Brazil, despite criticism in Coimbra that depictions of the city and its musical tradition were not accurately represented.
The film marked the debut of Amália Rodrigues, previously known as a radio star. The film's popularity led producers to rush out another film Fado: The Story of a Singer, which was loosely based on her own life story.Bruno de Almeida
Bruno de Almeida (11 March 1965) is a Portuguese filmmaker and musician. He is New York and Lisbon-based.Cantigas numa Língua Antiga
Cantigas numa Língua Antiga is an album by the Portuguese fado singer Amália Rodrigues. Recorded in 1977 and released by Columbia, it was her first album of original material for three years. It was also released under the title Songs In an Ancient Tongue, with the track titles translated into English.Celeste Rodrigues
Maria Celeste Rebordão Rodrigues ComIH (14 March 1923 – 1 August 2018) was a Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and the younger sister of Amália Rodrigues.Cristina Branco
Cristina Branco (born 28 December 1972 in Almeirim, Ribatejo, Portugal) is a Portuguese musician. She was drawn to jazz and styles of Portuguese music before settling on fado, a choice after being introduced to the music of Amália Rodrigues by her grandfather. Branco then studied the poems from which the major fado lyrics are taken. Branco performs accompanied by composer Custódio Castelo on guitar.Eternally (Charles Chaplin song)
"Eternally" is a song with music by Charles Chaplin, and words by the English lyricists Geoff Parsons and John Turner. The music was initially composed for Charles Chaplin's film Limelight (1952) titled "Terry's Theme"; the film won an Oscar for "Best Original Dramatic Score" at the
45th Academy Awards in 1973.
"Eternally" was recorded by Jimmy Young (UK #8, 1953), Vic Damone (U.S. Pop #12, 1953), Li Xianglan (in Chinese and Japanese), Petula Clark (These Are My Songs, 1967), Bing Crosby (for his radio show), Dinah Shore, Steve Lawrence, Michel Legrand, Jerry Vale, Sarah Vaughan, Roger Whittaker, Engelbert Humperdinck (1973 and 2007), Victor Wood (1971), Amália Rodrigues, John Serry Sr. (Squeeze Play, 1956), among many others.Fado
Fado (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈfaðu]; "destiny, fate") is a music genre that can be traced to the 1820s in Lisbon, Portugal, but probably has much earlier origins. Fado historian and scholar Rui Vieira Nery states that "the only reliable information on the history of Fado was orally transmitted and goes back to the 1820s and 1830s at best. But even that information was frequently modified within the generational transmission process that made it reach us today."Although the origins are difficult to trace, today fado is commonly regarded as simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain traditional structure. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. This is loosely captured by the Portuguese word saudade, or "longing", symbolizing a feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent lifelong damage).
This is similar to the character of several musical genres in Portuguese ex-colonies such as morna from Cape Verde, which may be historically linked to fado in its earlier form but has retained its rhythmic heritage. This connection to the music of a historic Portuguese urban and maritime proletariat (sailors, dock workers, port traders and other working-class people in general) can also be found in Brazilian modinha and Indonesian kroncong, although all these music genres subsequently developed their own independent traditions.
Famous singers of fado include Amália Rodrigues, Dulce Pontes, Carlos do Carmo, Mariza, Mafalda Arnauth, António Zambujo, Ana Moura, Camané, Helder Moutinho, Carminho, Mísia, Cristina Branco, Gisela João and Katia Guerreiro.
On 27 November 2011, fado was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. It is one of two Portuguese music traditions part of the lists, the other being Cante Alentejano.Fados (film)
Fados is a 2007 Portuguese film directed by Carlos Saura. The film, a fusion of cinema, song, dance and instrumental numbers, explores Portugal's most emblematic musical genre, fado, and its spirit of saudade (melancholy).
Using Lisbon as its iconic backdrop, the film explores the intricate relationship between the music and the city, and Fado's evolution over the years from its African and Brazilian origins up to the new wave of modern Fadistas.
Under the musical supervision of Carlos do Carmo, Fados completed Saura's musical trilogy form with Flamenco (1995) and Tango (1998). Saura deploys mirrors, back projections, lighting effects, and lush colors to frame each song.
Fados contains homages to Maria Severa, Alfredo Marceneiro, and Amália Rodrigues, as well as turns by modern stars like Mariza and Camané. Saura expands the songs (which traditionally involve just a singer and a guitarist) with dance and encompasses other nationalities of Portugal’s former colonies and idioms (such as hip hop, flamenco and reggae).Harem (song)
"Harem (Canção Do Mar)" is a song by classical crossover artist Sarah Brightman, released on November 4, 2003. It was the first single taken from her 2003 album of the same name. "Harem" ranked number 1 on the Billboard dance/club charts. The original version of "Canção do Mar" was performed by Amália Rodrigues in 1955. The song would later be recorded by Valentina Félix on her album of the same name, and by Dulce Pontes for the 1996 movie Primal Fear, starring Richard Gere. There are at least six more versions of "Canção do Mar": "Oye Mar" by Chayanne, and a second version by Chenoa, "Elle tu l'aimes" by Hélène Ségara, "Das Ja Zum Leben" by Milva, "Ftes esi" by Mando, and "Bargard Be Man" by Shani Rigsbee.Malhão
The Malhão is a Portuguese circle dance and song in 24 time from Estremadura. The first line of one version is "Malhão, malhão, o malhão do norte", which can be translated as "winnower, winnower, o winnower of the North." The form of alternate endings derives from the cossante or cosaute, a courtly sung dance originating in 11th century France. The dance is also preserved in Malacca. The song also exists as the base of a fado, with local variations as in the "Malhão de Cinfães", "Malhão das Pulgas", and "Malhão de Águeda", all recorded by Amália Rodrigues.Music of Portugal
Portuguese music includes many different styles and genres, as a result of its history. These can be broadly divided into classical music, traditional/folk music and popular music and all of them have produced internationally successful acts, with the country seeing a recent expansion in musical styles, especially in popular music.
In traditional/folk music, fado has had a significant impact, with Amália Rodrigues still the most recognizable Portuguese name in music, and with more recent acts, like Dulce Pontes and Mariza. The genre is one of two Portuguese music traditions in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists, with the other being Cante Alentejano. Regional folk music remains popular too, having been updated and modernized in many cases, especially in the northeastern region of Trás-os-Montes. Some more recent successful fado/folk-inspired acts include Madredeus and Deolinda, the later being part of a folk revival that has led to a newfound interest in this type of music.
In popular music, there is a significant number of popular genres. These include rock, with popular acts including Xutos & Pontapés, The Gift (alternative rock), Fingertips (pop rock), Blasted Mechanism (experimental electro-rock) and Wraygunn (rock, blues). Also hip-hop, with acts such as Da Weasel, Boss AC and Sam the Kid. Acts such as Moonspell (metal) and Buraka Som Sistema (electro/kuduro/breakbeat) have had significant international success. Other popular modern genres in Portugal include dance, house, kizomba, pimba, pop, reggae, ska and zouk.