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Amália remembered

AMÁLIA RODRIGUES’ Fado legacy and career are being celebrated by Lagoa Câmara with a special cultural programme featuring Fado performances, exhibitions, debates, cinema and a mass throughout this month.

Now entering its final weeks, the programme includes a cinema session today (Friday) at 9.30pm, in the Auditório Municipal, the local theatre, featuring the film Amália and the Cinema. Next Friday, October 26, several Fado singers are to perform the originals of the Fado Diva in the Convento de São José, in Lagoa, at 9.30pm.

Amália Rodrigues is regarded as one of the most important icons of Portuguese cultural history. She was born the fifth child and had eight siblings in a poor Portuguese family in the early 1920s she went on to become the most famous Fado singer in the world. She died on October 6, 1999, when she was 79 but her songs still influence the younger Fado singers.

Amália started her career in 1939 at A Severa, one of the oldest and most famous Fado restaurants in Bairro Alto, a typical Lisbon neighbourhood. She was discovered in 1936 by a talent scout from  A Severa, while singing in a parade at the Lisbon Popular Saints Festival.

Later she was invited to Solar da Alegria, another well known Fado restaurant in Lisbon, where she met José de Melo, her first agent.

For several years, José de Melo influenced Amália’s career, stopping her from publishing any record with her songs.

He believed that if people could only see Amália at Fado restaurants her fees would rise faster and higher. He was proved right as, in no time, Amália Rodrigues became the most requested and well paid Fado singer in the country.

Her career would also expand to the theatre, where she met Frederico Valério, a well known Portuguese music composer who would write most of her famous Fado songs.

After the Second World War, Amália participated in the Marshal Plan by singing in many European countries for the American soldiers.

If you would like to know more about Amália’s career, please visit: (this website is only in Portuguese).

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