Ana Moura Leva – Me Aos Fados

Ana Moura Leva – Me Aos Fados
Released 4th October 2010

Autumn UK Tour** inc Union Chapel show (4th November)

Ana Moura is a striking Fado singer whose fans
include the Rolling Stones and Prince
(*Ana live with Prince). Her latest CD
“Leva – Me Aos Fados” is TOP OF THE WORLD
in the current Songlines Magazine.
“Leva – Me Aos Fados” will be given
a full release on 4th October to be followed
by a UK tour in the autumn

*Ana Moura live with Prince:
**Ana Moura – UK Tour

30th Southampton – Turner Sims
31st Bracknell – South Hill Park

2nd Gateshead – The Sage
3rd Shrewsbury – Theatre Severn
4th London – Union Chapel

Ana Moura began performing as a pop and rock singer in a local band before turning to Portugal’s symbolic genre, fado. By chance, the popular fado singer Maria de Fe overheard Moura singing at a party and invited her to perform at her café. Before long, word of Ana’s rich contralto, stunning looks and innate affinity with the demanding style spread, winning airtime on local television programmes devoted to fado and rave reviews in Lisbon newspapers. Newspapers glowed about the “rare and primitive quality” in her voice and Moura became part of a new generation of fado singers that tackle contemporary issues.

Moura collaborates regularly with guitarist Jorge Fernando who has been the inspiration for her most important songs (he used to play with Amalia Rodrigues). She has toured most of the world and records for Universal Music Portugal. Four of her five albums are available through World Village. In 2008 she guested on stage with the Rolling Stones in front of 30,000 people in Lisbon.
Watch here –

Ana Moura was born in Santarem, the bustling capital of the Ribatejo province in the centre of Portugal’s heartland on the Tejo River northeast of Lisbon. The city of half a million souls is also one of Portugal’s most historic cities – an ideal place to develop an appreciation for fado. “I’ve been singing fado since I was little, because I grew up listening to it at home,” she recalls of her early home life.
“My parents sang well, and at family gatherings we all would sing.” Like young people everywhere, she soon developed an appreciation for other styles of music. The lure of singing fado, however, never waned. In her late teens, when singing pop and rock with a local band Ana always included at least one fado in each performance. Then, one night on a whim, she and some friends went to one of Lisbon’s famous fado houses: small performance venues where singers, guitarists and aficionados gather to share their love of what has become Portugal’s most important music export. At the urging of her companions, she sang.

“People liked me,” she recalls of her first foray into a venerated bastion of the fado culture. Later that year, at a Christmas party that was attended by a lot of fadistas and guitarists, she sang again and, as fate would have it, noted fado vocalist Maria de Fe was in the audience and was duly impressed.

“My life changed when I began going to the fado houses,” Ana states today. “There’s no microphone – it’s very intimate. New singers learn through a kind of apprenticeship, learning the intricacies of the style from the older, more established singers.” As with jazz and country music in the U.S., tango in Argentina, samba in Brazil, fado sprang from the culture of working class people. And, as with the aforementioned examples, over the years the style evolved from humble origins to win broad appeal. Today, as Ana proudly proclaims, “In Portugal, fado is for everyone.”

Like virtually every aspiring fadista, Ana drew early inspiration from the example of Amalia Rodrigues, the revered singer who most personified the style. “It was her soul and her voice,” she comments of the late vocalist’s singular imprint on the music. “She had everything in her. Some singers have a great voice but no soul, no intensity. Others have feeling but not a suitable voice. She had it all, and, she was a very good improviser.”

Improvising is an under-appreciated part of the fado tradition. One technique, which Ana uses to great effect on the song “Lavava no rio lavava” (I Went to the River to Wash), is what the Portuguese term vocalisos — the expression of words and effects through use of vocal trills. The practice is believed to have been absorbed over centuries of exposure to Spanish flamenco and Moorish styles.

A key track from her album exquisitely sums up the magnetic pull fado has exerted on Ana. “Sou do fado, sou fadista” (I belong to fado, I am a fadista) by her mentor and primary collaborator, guitarist Jorge Fernando, eloquently explains Ana’s total surrender to the style:
“I know my soul has surrendered, taken my voice in hand, twisted in my chest and shown it to the world. And I have closed my eyes in a wistful longing to sing, to sing. And a voice sings to me softly, and a voice enchants me softly, I belong to fado, I belong to fado, I am a fadista.”

Today, Ana Moura still thinks of how and where it all began, and of the importance of keeping those vital ties alive. “Before,” she muses, “I used to sing in the fado house every day. Today, because of my concert schedule and travel, it’s impossible. But, when time permits, I like to return. Sometimes I feel that I must go there. I need that.” (Adapted from a text by Cindy Byram)