5 most important fado singers



5 most important fado singers

Portugal has in fado its most traditional and sentimental music. With a tradition dating back from as early as the 1820s, this soul music from Portugal has conquered the world with its poignant lyrics of sorrow. But who are those that elevated this music to international acclaim? These are five of the most important fado singers in history.

Amália Rodrigues

Born in Lisbon in 1920, Amália Rebordão Rodrigues was dubbed “The Queen of Fado.” She was a singer and actress who helped popularize fado worldwide. She also turned into one of the most important figures in the genre's development, becoming the pre-eminent female fadista during her long-lasting career, which spanned over 50 years. Amália was the main inspiration for other well-known international fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, and Mariza. She died at the age of 79 in her home in Lisbon, and the country’s government declared three days of national mourning to pay homage to her legacy.


Born Marisa dos Reis Nunes in the then-Overseas Province of Mozambique, Marisa is today the most important fado artist and the most famous worldwide. She started her career singing a variety of musical styles, including gospel, soul and jazz, but her father encouraged her to sing fado. After adopting fado, she has received plenty of awards, including one Latin Grammy and the Best European Artist in World Music by BBC3. She has performed with different popular music stars such as Sting.


Dulce Pontes

Born in 1969 in Montijo, a town close to Lisbon, Dulce José Silva Pontes is a world music artist whose work contributed to the 1990s revival of fado - however, she also performs different genres such as pop, folk, and classical music. Throughout her career, she sung in Portuguese, Spanish, Galician, Mirandese, Italian, English, Arabic and Greek.

Ana Moura

Born in Santarém, Portugal, in 1970, Ana Moura is one of the most renowned figures in the fado scene. She started her career performing in night clubs in Lisbon and then rose to prominence by performing on local television alongside Antonio Pinto Basto. Ana Moura is the youngest fadista to be nominated for a Dutch Edison Award and has received Triple Platinum certifications for the sales of her albums. In 2007, Ana Moura joined the Rolling Stones in concert at the Alvalade XXI stadium in Lisbon. She sang “No Expectations” with Mick Jagger.

Carlos do Carmo

One of the finest singers from Portugal, Carlos do Carmo was born in Lisbon in 1939. He began his career in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that success at home and abroad came; he released close to thirty records during that decade. While fado remains at the core of his music, do Carmo has used Frank Sinatra-style and French-style pop balladry as well as Brazilian bossa nova to give his music its distinctive flavor. His most famous songs are “Lágrimas de Orvalho,” “Lisboa Menina e Moça” and “Canoas do Tejo.”

Return to Mariza and the Story of Fado




Ana Moura

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