I am so in line for this album. You may remember Cristina Branco from an earlier post when she had a fado and tango album released. Now this time it is a pure fado album, and I personally cannot wait. The album is from Cristina's live Fado debut in Holland in 1997. Cristina Branco's voice is to die for.
Goosebumps on goosebumps.
Os Teus Olhos Sao Dois Cirios
Raw Fado in a home in Portugal. Amazingly beautiful.
In the film directors Leendert Pot and Michel Schöpping visit Cristina and Custódio at their countryside home. There we experience how a Cape Verdian poem leads to a new composition. Cristina and Custódio continue to explore boundaries and reinterpret fado music.
Custódio: The new composition is neither a traditonal Cape Verdian Morna, nor a Fado. It's a unique style.
Everyone who sees Cristina Branco - a Minha Casa will fall in love with Cristina's voice and be moved by Custódio's compositions and guitar playing. [PVHfilm]
There is a new generation of singers breathing fresh life into the fado, the 'Portuguese blues'. Cristina Branco is one of them. The singer possesses a wealth of knowledge on the historic background of the fado. Cristina and her accompanist Custódio Castelo are among the most innovative artists of this new generation and they set the tune for further development of this genre. The special chemistry between the two created a "novo fado" a "new fado sound", fresh with flexible melody lines, and a more important role for the instrumentalists than in the traditional fado.
The Guitarra Portuguêsa or Guitarra do Fado is a twelve string lute (six double strings) with a long fretted neck ending in a fan-shaped tuning head. It is descended from the Western European (English) cittern of the 16th to 18th centuries and the Spanish bandurria. Its overall length is about 75 cm (29.5 in); it has a pear-shaped body with a flat sound table and a slightly rounded back. The three treble string pairs are tuned to the same note and the three pairs of bass strings are tuned in octaves which gives the instrument its full and rich sound. It is generally played together with a six string classical guitar, the viola, as accompaniment.
The lyrics of the fado (literary: fate) are based on saudade, a Portuguese word that cannot be translated into other languages. 'Nostalgia', 'desire' or a complete feeling of melancholy come closest. The urge to express this emotion is very highly developed among the Portuguese, who live by the sea and are used to waving farewell to loved ones.
Hopeless love, pain, sorrow, the life at sea and the longing for home are the most common themes of the songs. They can be found in the poems of the 15th century poet Luís Vaz de Camões but just as well in the lyrics by Jorge Fernando, Maria Manuel Cid and Manuel D'Andrade, some of the most important contemporary Portuguese song writers.
For Cristina Branco the fado is the ideal vehicle for her musicality and feelings: "I started singing at a very young age, preferably jazz. But as Portuguese, the fado is in our blood. As I began to understand fado poems, they meant a lot more to me than other songs."
Cristina and Custódio are very innovative in their approach. While the basis still lies in the traditional fado, they allow outside influences into their music.
Branco: "Custódio Castelo composes the melodies to my voice. There is a special interaction between us. We bring a slightly different 'touch' to the genre. In general you can say that our melody lines are slightly more flexible than those of traditional fado."
Does a fado singer need to have led a harsh and dramatic life?
Cristina answers laughing: "I am a cheerful person by nature. It is more a question of empathy. Feeling the pain of the poet is enough to ensure a fine fado song."
The time has come for the fado to reclaim its rightful position in Portuguese culture. The beginning of this new era is clearly marked by Cristina Branco singing the music of Portugal's great poet and composer José Afonso. [ARCMusicProductions]