The Queen of Fado: Amália Rodrigues

Classical Academy | Performers | Around the World | Amália Rodrigues


On 23 July 1920, the future of Amália Rodrigues was born in Portugal. Her remarkable and unique voice, and her mesmerising stage presence caused her to be crowned the Rainha do Fado (Queen of Fado) and gave her world-wide success. She was the most influential artist of her generation in popularising and redefining the genre of Fado. After a career spanning over 50 years, she died in October 1999, leaving a wealth of recordings behind her and a role model for the budding fadista (female fado singer).


Fado  is a traditional Portuguese form of music, usually characterised by powerful lamenting, sighing melodies which symbolise the Portuguese word "saudade" (longing). Until the early 20th century, Fado was passed down orally from one Fado singer to the next. When artists like Amália Rodrigues began recording the songs, people all over the world were able to hear this unique form of music. In 2011, Fado was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists.


This amazing recording of Amália in action was recorded live at the Olympia Theatre in Paris. Released in 1957, it shows the Queen of Fado in her glory years, delivering numbers such as "Perseguição" (Pursuit), "Tudo Isto E Fado" (That's the Fado) and "Amália". Powerful and transportative, this is an album not to be missed.