Portuguese singer Ana Moura embraces folk, pop music
FOLSOM — International songstress Ana Moura has emerged as one of Portugal’s leading voices of traditional Fado (which means “fate”; fado is her country’s soulful answer to the blues). She embarks on an extensive national tour, including a performance at Three Stages on March 7 that will embrace both the emotional folk music of her country and her own pop sensibility.
“Moura’s physical beauty is undeniable, but her mesmeric appeal radiates from within, even if you don’t know a syllable of Portuguese. Her ability to alternately whisper, growl and ring like a silver bell are the hallmarks of a fine singer, not just another pretty face.”—NPR, All Things Considered
Her performance at Three Stages comes on the heels of Moura’s fifth studio album and Decca debut, “Desfado.” The 14-track album was co-produced by multiple Grammy-winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Madeleine Peyroux) and recorded at the famed Henson Recording Studio in Los Angeles. Desfado also features the legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock onDream of Fire and quintessential saxophonist Tim Reis (Rolling Stones) on Havemos De Acordar. Her performance will showcase three tracks in English including a vulnerable rendition of Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You,” “Dreams of Fire” and the achingly soulful “Thank You.”
Moura was born in Santarém in 1979. Her family moved to Coruche where she grew up enjoying the music of Fausto, José Afonso, Ruy Mingas, music from Angola and Fado. Those were the melodies that were sung in the evenings at the Moura family home. Singing was a part of family life, so much so that any family meeting would end with a singing match. Although they sang a bit of everything, Moura acquired a special fondness for Fado. At age 6 she would sing her first Fado, “Cavalo Ruço.” As she became a teenager, Fado was left aside and Moura became interested in other genres. It was with that curiosity for other types of music, in those teenage years — a time of discovery and rebellion — that 14-year-old Moura arrived in Carcavelos, in the outskirts of Lisbon, to finish high school. She enrolled in Academia dos Amadores de Música where she formed her first band with school friends.
Although she would sing other genres, Moura’s voice rapidly gained a natural Fado tone to it and so, even with a rock band, she managed to include a Fado or two in her repertoire — usually Povo que Lavas no Rio by Amália, who was her current main influence as a singer.
Destiny then played a role, taking Moura to a bar in Carcavelos where she sang a Fado. In the audience was guitar player António Parreira who, quite impressed, introduced her to several Fado houses. Then, at a Christmas party for musicians and Fado singers, Moura met the very people who would populate her nights from then on, and she was invited to sing. This time, it is Maria da Fé, co-owner of the prestigious Fado house Senhor Vinho, who was taken by her raw talent and invited her to sing at her Fado house.
It is during that nightlife in Senhor Vinho and other Fado houses that her singing matured. Now she had been given other reasons to sing, without killing her spontaneity. The rest is history.
Moura has grabbed the attention of music lovers from around the world. In 2007 she joined the Rolling Stones on stage where she sang “No Exceptions” with Mick Jagger, which she also later recorded for Tim Ries’Rolling Stones Project 2 (2008) along with her own interpretation of “Brown Sugar.” The talented chanteuse has also shared the stage with Prince in Lisbon (2009) after he discovered her music online and then travelled to Paris to see her perform. During her live performances, Moura takes her audience on a musical journey through the traditional genre, yet pushes the boundaries for a new generation to explore.
Ana Moura will perform in Three Stages at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 7. Tickets are $19 to 29 with premium tickets available for $39. Students with IDs get in for $12. Tickets may be purchased online at threestages.net, from Three Stages ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Three Stages is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.