Antonio Zambujo to Play Zankel Hall, 2/8
A leading voice in the revival of male fado singers, António Zambujo brings his distinctive style which merges traditional fado with cante alentejano-a North African-influenced male chant from southern Portugal-and Brazilian popular music to Zankel Hall on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 8:30 p.m. Zambujo is known for pushing Portugal's folk music tradition into the contemporary, and it is his love for tradition together with his will to innovate the popular classic style that distinguishes him from other fado singers. His earthy songs, sensitive interpretations, and arrangements often incorporate elements of bossa nova, M.P.B. (música popular brasileira), and jazz, and feature clarinet and cavaquinho led by acoustic bass and guitar. Legendary singer Caetano Veloso notes "...what you hear in Zambujo is something that goes deeper. He...makes us think about João Gilberto and everything that came into Brazilian music because of him." This concert marks Zambujo's first performance at Carnegie Hall.
Fado, the legendary tradition that evolved in the port cities in the early 19th century, has a place on UNESCO's list of intangible cultural heritage. Unlike rural forms of folk music where a single culture is often responsible for the evolution of the genre, fado is an urban folk music, originating in the port city of Lisbon, where many cultures met and merged over centuries. The expression of fado is beautiful and melancholy, characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia or saudade-a Portuguese word meaning longing for something that is eternally lost and will never come back. Fado combines elements of Portuguese country folk music with Moorish and African influences, among others.
António Zambujo was born in Beja-in the south-central Alentejo region of Portugal-and grew up listening to the cante alentejano that would later influence his musical education. He began studying the clarinet at the age of eight, but fell in love with fado by listening to artists like Amália Rodrigues, Maria Teresa de Noronha, Alfredo Marceneiro, João and Ferreira Rosa among others. Though he usually only sang in the company of his family and friends, he won a regional fado contest as a teenager, and, having completed his clarinet studies, moved to Lisbon where he met renowned Portuguese guitar player and composer Mário Pacheco who immediately added him to his ensemble at the prestigious Clube do Fado in Alfama. After auditioning for the musical Amália (a play about the life and times of the fado legend Amalia Rodrigues), directed by Filipe La Féria, Zambujo was added to the production playing the part of Francisco Cruz, Amália's first husband for four years in the staged version as well as for the subsequent national tour.
After recording his first album O mesmo fado in 2002, Zambujo won the prestigious Radio Nova FM prize for the Best New Fado Voice and the Amália Rodrigues Foundation's Award for Best Male Fado Singer. He has recorded four more albums since-Por meu cante (2004); Outro Sentido (2007 - named 'Top of the World' album by Songlines) and Guia (2010), which are all available in the US on the World Village label. In 2009, Zambujo included in O Globo's list of the 10 Best International Concerts of the Year alongside musicians Elton John, Burt Bacharach, Terence Blanchard, KISS, Youssou N'Dour and Angelique Kidjo. Zambujo's latest album, Quinto was released in 2012 by Universal Music Portugal.