plus support from Lucas Santtana
Live at the Barbican on 31st October
Belfast Festival at Queens on 29th October
City of London,
Tickets: £15 – 22
www.barbican.org.uk/020 7638 4141
Box Office: 028 90 97 11 97/www.belfastfestival.com
Ana Moura entranced a huge crowd in her debut performance at this summer’s Womad festival. Here is what The Guardian wrote: “… a memorable (Womad) festival debut for the young Portuguese fado star Ana Moura, whose cool, no-nonsense style lacked the theatricality of Mariza but showed an intensity and quiet emotion that should make her a major global star. While The Independent reported that: “… this year Ana Moura stopped the Saturday afternoon grazers and shoppers in their tracks. Sixtysomething regulars and teenage first-timers alike whooped her magical set.” The Independent
Ana Moura is a stunning, young Fado singer whose fans include the Rolling Stones and Prince. Her latest studio album “Leva – Me Aos Fados” was TOP OF THE WORLD in Songlines Magazine as well as earning 4 star reviews in the Evening Standard, Jungle Drums, R2 (Rock ‘n’ Reel)and The Daily Telegraph,who added:“She’s a class act, with a voice of clarity which is to the fore on this excellent disc…”Ana has also recently released “Coliseu”, which was recorded live at two of Portugal’s legendary venues: Coliseu do Porto and Lisbon’s Coliseu dos Recreios, to excellent reviews.
The Barbican will be Ana’s second London show after last year’s magical event at Union Chapel. Catch her at the Barbican for what promises to be the beginning of a new era for fado and its new shining star.
Support is from Brazil’s Lucas Santtana, equal parts Tom Zé and Thom Yorke, he is one of the most interesting songwriter-producers from the ‘new generation’ of South American musicians. His performance with his group celebrates the release of his album Sem Nostalgia by UK label Mais Um Disco
ANA MOURA’S BIOGRAPHY
Dates, days, numbers, facts: if only they could explain what Ana Moura does. What she does to us. But where our interest lies, where the mystery lingers as to what happened in Ana Moura’s career is but a palpable part of the art of speaking the unspeakable that the Fado singer outshines in as few do. That strength, that feeling that has no map nor streets and to make it simple we’ll refer to as soul. It’s this and only this that makes Ana who she is; it’s this that her voice gives back, wrapping up the words of the poets. But let’s stick to the facts for now, the visible trail of Ana Moura’s life and soul.
Mothers, in their infinite wisdom, are never wrong. And when Fernanda Pereira heard her daughter sing several kinds of songs from a tender age, she would always say, “It’s with Fado that your voice stands out’. It wasn’t just her voice, but this was only to be discovered later. Growing up in the middle of a family who loved songs and Fado in particular, secretly and sweetly strengthened little Ana Moura’s vocation. In Coruche, where she lived until her adolescence, Ana’s voice became well known. Her musical passions were, as is natural, a far cry from Fado: rock and pop were the closest things to life in the fast lane as is characteristic of those years of self discovery, and Ana was no exception.
We will never know if we have lost a charismatic pop singer; but what we have gained is too precious to ignore. Following an initiatory ritual, in which Ana was invited by guitarists to sing in different Fado ‘houses’, Maria da Fé heard her sing and hired her to sing at Sr. Vinho. This was the beginning of everything.
For those who want to live Fado, the Fado ‘house’ where one sings becomes a school. This is what happened to Ana Moura during the years she sung at Maria da Fé’s Fado ‘house’. But destiny knows how to choose those who look for it: and it was at Sr. Vinho that Ana found her musical accomplice – singer, author, producer and composer Jorge Fernando. A Fado singer at heart, Jorge Fernando associated with the best – he was Amália’s acoustic guitar player for years. As a composer and excellent song writer, Fernando is a visionary and extraordinarily sensitive producer. And from this musical bond the beginning of a great career was only a step away: the record ‘Guarda-me a vida na mão’ (2003) caught the audiences and critic by surprise. ‘Sou do fado, sou fadista’, one of the songs on the album, became an instant classic. A voice like this hadn’t been heard in a long time, a voice that filled the air whether it was singing or in silence. The critics praised her record and Ana Moura began to receive invitations to perform abroad where her talent was even more respected. And the best was yet to come.
The following year saw another step etched onto Ana Moura’s career. The new record was ambitious: Aconteceu (2004) was a conceptual adventure, a double CD divided into traditional Fado (‘Dentro de Casa’) and possible paths out of and around Fado (‘À porta do Fado’) To strengthen this new approach, lyricists and musicians from other musical backgrounds, such as Tózé Brito, Tiago Bettencourt or Miguel Guedes (Blind Zero) were invited. And in fact, as a result of this record, the frontiers started to melt away for Ana Moura as she became more and more respected abroad. Her success in the Netherlands led her to be nominated for an Edison, the equivalent to a Dutch Grammy for world music; and as the final crowning glory, history will show that the first Portuguese artist to set foot on New York Carnegie Hall’s stage (one of the most famous venues in the world) was a young shy girl called Ana Moura.
But the world wanted more and was beginning to feel small for Ana’s soul. She went to Cannes, during the Film Festival. She sung at the Getty Museum. She sold out prestigious venues all over the world. Meanwhile, in distant Japan, a musician bought a series of Fado records. He placed one of them on his CD player and a few minutes later was left speechless: he had found the voice he had been looking for. That man was Tim Ries, resident saxophone player for the Rolling Stones and mentor of a parallel project: The Rolling Stones project, where he invited prestigious singers from all over the world to sing personal versions of the Rolling Stones songs. When he heard the first few minutes of ‘Aconteceu’ , Ries didn’t hesitate for a second and invited Ana to participate in the project.
Two songs were chosen, adapted by Jorge Fernando and by guitarist Custódio Castelo. All that remained was for the mythical band to meet the Fado singer. This took place in Lisbon, on the eve of the Rolling Stones’ concert at Alvalade XXI stadium. At the Casa de Linhares, the Fado house where Ana used to sing, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and company were blown away by the depth of Ana’s soul when she sung. Jagger, after the Fado singer’s performance, asked to speak to her in private. And the next day about 40,000 people were dazzled by the duet version of ‘No Expectations’ sung by Mick Jagger and Ana Moura. This was a moment the Fado singer will never forget.
With a heavily booked agenda, only at the end of 2006 did Ana Moura have the time to start preparations for her next record which would finally touch the heart of the Portuguese, who only then, somewhat unfairly, gave her the credit she so richly deserved. ‘Para Além da Saudade’ (2007) is the maturity of a Fado singer, the confidence in the recording studio and the success of the record’s concept. Returning to a musical base in which only the essential was included (bass guitar, acoustic guitar, Portuguese guitar) ‘Para Além da Saudade’ opened the door to new things her legacy left her.
Such was the case of the new partnerships, in which Amélia Muge (‘Fado da Procura’), Fausto (‘Viemos Nascidos do Mar’) or Nuno Miguel Guedes (‘Mapa do Coração’) take part. As musical associates, this record also included the mythical Patxi Andion and Tim Ries, who thus ‘reciprocated’ Ana’s participation in his own project. And most of all, it was with ‘Para Além da Saudade’ that Ana Moura achieved her first great emblematic Fado hit: ‘Os Búzios’, written by Jorge Fernando, became an obligatory song in all her concerts and sung in unison by the audience.
‘Para Alem da Saudade’ went Platinum. Abroad Ana Moura’s concerts increased at a rapid pace and along with big tours in Europe, she took over Mexico and The United States by storm. But her merit was also recognized in her own country, where in 2007 she was awarded the Amália Prize for Best Interpreter of the Year, given by the Amália Rodrigues Foundation.
Having said this, Ana was ready for another great challenge; the Lisbon and Oporto Coliseums, which took place in 2008. Two magical nights recorded onto DVD that also went Platinum. With two legendary guest singers – Maria da Fé and Beatriz da Conceição – and with Jorge Fernando’s support on stage, Ana Moura sold out a venue that rarely fills for Fado. Once again, the venue brimmed over with her soul. Meanwhile ‘Para Além da Saudade’ went Triple Platinum and remained about 120 weeks on the National Music Sales Chart.
More trips, more concerts, more prestige. Such as this one: The International PALCUS Prize (Portuguese America Leadership Council Association), the largest Portuguese association in the United States, awarded during a Gala that took place at the City Hall of San José, California. This trip to the United States coincided with the concerts of ‘Stones World: Rolling Stones World Music Project’ in New York and San Francisco.
With a peaceful but unrelenting career, Ana Moura was happy with life. But expectations were in fact very high and the next record would be decisive in separating maturity from apparent stagnation. Fortunately, and once again, it was Ana’s restless soul that dodged the traps success had laid. Counting again on the people she had worked with on ‘Para Além da Saudade’, her new record ‘Leva-me aos Fados’ (2009) was another step forward sidestepping the disruptions that come from looking for new things just for the sake of them. With two guitars accompanying a voice that was increasingly more confident, ‘Leva-me aos Fados’ brings together the beauty of traditional Fado with the unexpected: ‘Não É Um Fado Normal’, written by Amélia Muge and with the participation of the band Gaiteiros de Lisboa. The final priceless touches were the amazing contributions by José Mário Branco and Amélia Muge and consequently the result was a beautifully poised record, whose title track became another huge success, the rightful heir of Os Búzios. As soon as it was released , ‘Leva-me aos Fados’ went Gold and very quickly Platinum.
It was still the year of 2009 when, during a concert in Paris, a very special spectator was overwhelmed. It was Prince who realized he had already heard Ana sing. Mutual talents and things in common were discovered. And thus, a year later, and very naturally, Ana Moura sung two Fados with Prince during the historic performance of this genius from Minneapolis at the Super Bock Super Rock Festival in Portugal. If these two are to work together again remains to be seen. The truth of the matter is that Ana’s star is ablaze with passion and has a life of its own, as proved by all the recognition and success throughout 2010. The local Golden Globe for the category of Best Interpreter was a testament of the Portuguese admiration of her talent encompassing moreover the effect that the extraordinary ‘Leva-me aos Fados’ had which would cross frontiers as we will see further ahead. Still in Portugal, and amidst the Portuguese euphoria due to the national football team making it to the World Cup final, the Fado singer was chosen to sing the national anthem at Jamor Stadium which was sold out for the Black Eyed Peas concert marking the farewell of the Portuguese team to South Africa where the World Cup was taking place.
It was an intense year filled with concerts for Ana Moura. And it was during her English tour that the Fado singer made it to No. 2 in Amazon’s UK music sales chart. The album ‘Leva-me aos Fados’, available to the planet via its most prestigious and biggest online store, travelled around the world, taking the shadows and lights of Ana’s Fado. 2010 was also a time for a new musical challenge which the artist, with her endless curiosity and desire to explore new avenues, embraced eagerly. The Frankfurt concerts with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band triumphantly proved that Fado and Jazz can seduce each other and walk hand in hand. The soul knows no barriers and that was what the privileged audience felt in that German venue. Fortunately, and because of the success of those concerts, the artist decided to share them with her Portuguese audience in two of the noblest venues in the country: and so in April 2011 the Lisbon and Porto Coliseums will receive this unexpected but dazzling musical fusion. Ana Moura’s glow is felt right at the start of 2011, with the nomination for Best Artist by the prestigious world music magazine Songlines, and with the making of a documentary on her career for Mezzo TV Channel.
How far will Ana’s soul go? It is hard to say. Meanwhile, on her travels round the world, Ana lives day by day doing what she does best: singing with a soul so full of passion and yet barely perceptible behind the fragile smile of a girl.