Homage to Amália Rodrigues


Amália Rodrigues (July 23, 1920 – October 6, 1999) is the greatest singer of Fado of all time. She had an extraordinary career with a variety of components that are well presented in the documentary THE ART OF AMÁLIA, by Bruno de Almeida. This page was cretaed as an homage to this fadista of the fadistas who embodies so well the Portuguese soul and culture. The documentary by Bruno Almeida is presented in sequence, with a total of 21 videos, featuring the different stages of Amália's career since the very beginning, an interview with the artist, images of Lisbon, and, of course, Amália singing Fado! The parts spoken in Portuguese have English subtitles and the documentary, dated from 1999, is narrated in English by John Ventimiglia. Some curiosities: the opening is done by David Byrne and video number 8 features Barco Negro, one of the most intriguing fados ever sung by Amália.
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NOTES ON AMÁLIA'S LIFE


Amália Rodrigues's personality and charisma, the beauty of her face and her extraordinary timbre of voice, gave depth and intense life to her chant: the impression she made on the public, her immediacy and the natural way she empathized with her public were tremendous and attracted admirers throughout the world.(...) Amália was born in Lisbon. Contrary to official documents, she always said her birthday was July 1, 1920.(...)
She sang from the early age of 4 or 5, in the streets of Lisbon, playfully and naturally, and started singing as an amateur as early as 1935. Her miserable childhood in Lisbon gave her a very important outlook on life, which would always be present in soulfulness of her chant.(...) After a few years of amateur performances, Amália's first professional engagement in a fado venue took place in 1939.(...) Her Portuguese popularity began to extend abroad with trips to Spain, a lengthy stay in Brazil.
In the early fifties, the patronage of acclaimed Portuguese poet David Mourão-Ferreira marked the beginning of a new phase: Amália sang with many of the country's greatest poets, and some wrote lyrics specifically for her. Amália had an intuitive intelligence which made her admire the arts and made her choose with increasing criteria and taste her own songs and their words. Her relationship with poetry would once again contribute to major changes in traditional fado: not only popular poets produced words for the songs, but the so-called great poets started contributing and writing specifically for her. The 'grand poetry' crossed its paths with those of fado.(...) In the meantime Amália became Portugal's most renowned singer, and she became first the toast of Lisbon and then the toast of Portugal, attracting friends and admirers both from the people, then from the aristocracy. Artists, poets, politicians, former Kings and bankers were attracted by her personality and charisma. At the same time Amália began an interesting career in the movies: her box office power was a major asset, and she debuted in the movies in 1946.
Amália would become a truly international name in 1954. Amália's international career skyrocketed through her presence in Henri Verneuil’s film The Lovers of Lisbon (Les Amants du Tage), where she had a supporting role. By the late 1950s the USA, Britain, and France had become her major international markets; Japan and Italy followed suit in the 1970s.
On October 6, 1999, Amália Rodrigues died at the age of 79 in her home in Lisbon. She is buried at the National Pantheon alongside other Portuguese notable.



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