Telmo Pires: Ser Fado: Release Information
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Release Date: 11.03.2016
TT Catalogue No: 4630
Telmo Pires is a “fadista”, poet, composer and one of the few men in the panorama of Fado who appears internationally and the press calls him “the modern incarnation of the Fado”.
In March 2016 his new album SER FADO / BEING FADO is released - it represents the essence of his idea of Fado in matured form. A Fado that goes back to the origin and the roots of the tradition, as apposed to many current Fado productions, which try to converge towards the mainstream and the international market through the use of pop elements and modern instrumentations. A Fado that is essentially brought to life by the expression of Pires’ voice, as well as the Portuguese and Classical guitar.
SER FADO, Telmo Pires’ second album recorded in Lisbon, joins some of the great classics like the Fado Vianinha, the Fado Alfacinha and the Fado Bailado of the wonderful Alfredo Marceneiro - all with new lyrics, partly by Telmo Pires himself and also by the contemporary Lisbon poets Nuno Miguel Guedes and Daniel Lourenço. For the first time lyrics were “tailor-made” specifically for Pires, so to speak.
The album also presents Fados that are not entirely traditional: Ausente / Absent is a poem set to music by Custódio Castelo; a poem of the legendary Jorge Fernando, who performed as a young guitarist alongside Amália Rodrigues and is considered one of the main discoverers and patrons of new talent in Portugal. The poem is about someone, who bid farewell to his people, because he has the impression that he was born on the wrong side of life. It seems to him like his place is somewhere else and he sets off on his search on an unknown path.
From Davide Zaccaria, the producer of the album, Pires chose the pieces Amanha no mar / Tomorrow on the Sea and Desfeito / Undone. For the latter Telmo also wrote the lyrics. It describes the feeling that emerges when we believe that our dreams are crumbling away, because we are not daring to live them and the regret that arises when we realize that we have given up on our dreams.
Someone who opened completely new paths for the Fado and for Amália Rodrigues was the composer Alain Oulman. As the son of a publisher he was very interested in literature and as a composer he liked working with texts of contemporary Portuguese poets. His song structure and harmonic context were more complex than usual in Fado until then. The texts he set to music were uncommonly modern and were received quite controversially at first. Of his pieces, Pires sings As mãos que trago / The hands I carry and Malaventurado / Unlucky Fellow, two titles that are most seldomly or never heard in traditional Fado houses. With this homage to Oulman, Pires bows to his art and his courage, for which he is still today considered a revolutionary.
The piece Malaventurado was recorded in the middle of the night after a long day at the studio when the musicians had left already. A spontaneous idea with a text that was dear to Pires’ heart - only the words of the poet Bernadim Ribeiro from the 16th century are heard, which Pires brings to life again to the melody of Alain Oulman.
A particular highlight is a song with folkloristic roots: Ao passar por Braga abaixo / Passing Through Braga by the music legend António Variações, who died much too early in 1984 and couldn’t publish this song anymore. A few days after the brother and executor of the will of Variações saw a concert of Telmo Pires in Lisbon for the first time, he spontaneously gave him the original demo recordings and turned over the rights to Pires, to interpret this song and to be the first to publish it.
SER FADO is the peak so far of the extraordinary career of a remarkable artist. Born in the north of Portugal, he spent most of his life in Germany, where he began his career and recorded his first albums. Six years ago he left his “comfort zone” in Berlin and adventuresomely put himself into the hands of the Fado in its city Lisbon.
On arrival there in 2011 he recorded his album FADO PROMESSA (Traumton Records 2012). As producer and musical director one of the most renowned musicians of the country stood by his side: Davide Zaccaria. With the new production SER FADO they continue their fruitful collaboration.
Concerts, showcases, TV and radio appearances followed. Everyone had become curious about the charismatic “new guy”, who had caused a sensation with his unconventional manner and his style. So curious, that he was invited to perform in the “Museu do Fado“ in Lisbon in 2014. With its work the Fado museum significantly contributed to the recognition of Fado as UNESCO Cultural World Heritage in 2011 and is hence regarded as the highest instance of present-day Fado. The enthusiasm following this first sold-out concert there was so great, that the Fado museum became a supporter and co-producer of the new album SER FADO.
Telmo Pires, a European born in Portugal and raised in Germany sets off to rediscover the traditions of the Lisbon song and carry it into the world - the traditions of an old Fado, that always sounds new in his voice.
* Braga is the hometown of António Variações, located in the north of Portugal