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Amalia Rodrigues & Don Byas

The unrivaled queen of the Portuguese fado, singer Amália Rodrigues was born in Lisbon's Alfama district in 1920; one of ten children, she was abandoned by her mother at the age of one and raised by her grandmother, spending her formative years selling produce on the streets and working as a seamstress. Against the wishes of her family, as a teen Rodrigues performed as a tango dancer, and at 19 she made her professional singing debut alongside her sister, Celeste, at the fashionable Lisbon nightspot Retiro da Severa.

Within a year she was a star, selling out clubs every night; in 1944, she traveled to Brazil, drawing huge crowds during her stay at the Copacabana Casino and later returning to Rio de Janeiro to make her first recordings. Rodrigues not only popularized the fado throughout South America, she reinvented it -- brilliantly fusing the urban and rural styles of Lisbon and Coimbra, she also sought out material that moved far beyond the traditional tales of failed romance to explore instead the deepest crises of the soul and spirit, delivering performances unmatched in their fatalistic power and haunting beauty.

Because Rodrigues' manager, José de Melo, believed her native fans would stop attending her live appearances if they could buy her recordings, she did not enter a Portuguese recording studio until 1951, issuing a handful of sides on the Melodia label before moving to the Valentim de Carvalho imprint the following year. In the wake of World War II she began touring outside of South America, and scored an international hit in 1956 with "Coimbra," recorded live at Paris' Olympia Theatre.

In all, Rodrigues recorded upwards of 170 albums and even appeared in a number of feature films, retaining her drawing power even after the popularity of fado itself began to dissipate during the 1960s. She continued touring well past her 70th birthday, entering retirement only after undergoing surgery; she spent the final years of her life as a recluse, making her final public appearance at the opening of Lisbon's Expo in 1998. Rodrigues died October 6, 1999, at the age of 79; upon receiving news of her passing, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres ordered three days of national mourning, declaring her "the Voice of Portugal." ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Very nice to year your comments. Guess what my father was singuing all of your songs as my mother too . And when I listing that those songs just remember them as they would be here. I know they no longer here but it is always good to remember them especial this time of the year . Let peace be whih them . Love you all .
Being born a Lisboeta and listening to Amalia and Antonio Mourao was always a pleasure glad me and the wife went to the Expo in 98 it was magical.
That voice! I reminds me of Lola Beltran. It Grabs your heart.
When I lived there I was always mystified and haunted by this singing. Now in my 40s, I understand it and listen to it at work. Love Amalia!
sab498
Dont read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lover's name will appear on the screen in big letters this is so scary beacause it actually works!
estou contentissim o por encontrar pendora,tenh o pena de nao a ter encontrado ha mais tempo.Obriga d o pela oportinidade um abraco frank re'
Caroline and Michael Pease
We love Amalia.Remem b e r her as little girl.
when went to Portugal with my husband Michael, introduced him to her music. He too thinks Amalia has a great voice!!! Thank you Amalia for leaving in our hearts your wonderful voice.
I just love her.
AS A LITTLE GIRL I HEARD THE VOICE OF AMALIA EVERY SUNDAY MORNING FROM PEOPLES HOMES AS I SAT ON MY TERRACE IN THE BAIRRO ALTO. AMALIA'S MUSIC WILL ALWAYS BE A PART OF MY LOVELY CHILDHOOD AND AND MY SOUL........ . .
Fado is a beautiful music, but growing up listening to my dad playing her music
nothing comparers to her voice. Always was and will be part of my life,thanks dad for openning my ears to this beautiful voice.
One of the great vocalists of the 20th century. She is in a class with Edith Piaf, Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holiday, etc., as a master of her idiom. It is a disgrace that she is not better known in the USA (except among the cognoscenti, of course).
I have never heard anything like her music. Music is eternal beauty and though she is gone, her voice will never fade away. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

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