Pedro Ayres Magalhães says that it is not possible to talk about Madredeus without talking about Teresa Salgueiro. For this reason we have to face the problem to put some light on a figure out of definitions, absolutely far from typical characters or possible comparisons.
Teresa is a figure, an iconic figure that Madredeus helped to create and that helped to create Madredeus. The voice of Teresa Salgueiro is nowadays considered as one of the best of Portugal, but describing it in that way we have to put it in a musical scene that offers few direct comparisons. In this case the adjectives that are used the most are formally correct but inevitably bring us to imagine a completely different voice. That incoherenceù takes life from contradictions and paradoxes that live in the voice of Teresa. We often says that it is "terse" and we can agree. But for everybody a terse voice is also cold; we are used to the warm voices of Armstrong, of Aretha, or to the one of the most recent Alanis Morissette. The critics say "terse", but it is also warm, burning, blood red. I love to say that the voice of Teresa has in itself many of the colors of her homeland, colors of the land, colors which are sons of a generous sun and of a powerful and sometimes angry sea. It is the golden yellow of the alentejan countryside, the white of the lost but living houses, the green of the Estremadura and the blue of a sky and a sea that seem that have united themselves to kill the Horizon. But I would say also that it is a "red" voice, like the blood that flows in the portuguese women, like the blood that flowed in me in the terrace of the Sã Jorge castle in Lisboa, like the fire of the love declarations of fado. It is now evident the paradox of a voice that is outside our canons and that succeeds in being terse and burning, clear and bloody, crystalline and soft, at the same time. I am aware of the fact that these considerations are not the most objective, but objectivity is not daughter of Man and neither vice versa. I will say also that the voice of Teresa is defined as "light" or "limpid" and that brings to our minds the voice of Enja, McKennitt, Dead can Dance and others. But you just need to listen to few spoken words by Teresa to understand how her voice is dark, black, deep, almost ancient. But it is also a... great voice, a voice which "fills", which doesn't need choirs and that can cover a wide spectrum of frequencies. This is not due to the vocal excursion, but it refers to the feeling of a "sonorous dimension". A dimension that tells you if the voice can stand alone or need a weighty arrangement. Personally I love to say that the voice of Teresa Salgueiro is "big", so big that it exudes from small spaces, but so concentrated that makes big ones crouch, so big to suffocate the images of "Lisbon Story", but concentrated to freeze them in pictures, paintings, picturesque memories. We already said that Teresa Salgueiro is a particular character aside from being a extraordinary singer. The paradoxes that lives in her voice find new life in her being, in her behaving, in her moving. Many things can be read about her and we can see her in the films of the concerts, in the interviews and in everything that holds her fingerprint. But after so many analyses, so much work it remains a disconcerting confusion. This state derives from the absolute "inadequateness" of Mrs Salgueiro to every clichè that our mind builds around those figures of the entertaining world. For many vips of the jet-set have been necessary to write books to unveil their differences from this cliches. In the case of Teresa we just need a photo. Why that? Many people wondered about that enigma and we are not here to answer. We will only say that it is probably because of a series of sensations that arise in presence of Teresa Salgueiro. We are not the first to say that, and, among the many, the same Pedro Ayres Magalhães said that in every concert he is witness of the effect that the mere physical presence of Teresa has on the audience. We are not about to define a new esoteric doctrine, but we just want to underline the existence of a certain kind of magnetism that Mrs Salgueiro owns, and everyone that has been to a Madredeus concert will agree with us. It is difficult to define the origin of that charisma: we can think that it can derive from a series of movements, from the tone of the voice, from the gait, or from some other thing. In this particular case, I love to think it is originated from a certain kind of "pride", I would almost say "pride of being woman"; an hidden but perceivable interior security, in an attitude similar to the one of who has nothing to hide, a past of wounds, heavy mistakes to forget. And all of that brings immediately to the mind an image of youth and, afterwards of purity. Though we are have now found one of the keys of the glamour of Teresa, able to subjugate people in every corner of the globe: the purity. Characteristic that is evident from every action of her: her elegant gait, the shyness at the microphone, the movement of the hands, the humbleness of the considerations and many other things. You read that she doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, make up and dress up by herself before the show and everything brings you to a greater purity; a purity that the modern Man too often considers as something unrecoverable, or worse, of deniable. Knowing other admirers we can discover that this characteristic is the one that mostly strike everybody: the conviction that she can be the living demonstration of the existence of something that we considered lost. And we all hope that Rui Machado, husband of the "diva" got a mistake when he wrote that "in everything lies an illusion". It is fundamental now to focus on the particular relation between Teresa Salgueiro and Madredeus; this relation can be summarized by another paradox so well explained by Pedro Ayres Magalhães: "It is as Teresa Salgueiro is Madredeus and at the same time Madredeus is Teresa Salgueiro". Already from that we can argue how the characters of this synergic relation are a natural consequence of the ones of the personage Teresa Salgueiro and the ones of the concept Madredeus. From the conceptual point of view we can underline two distinct aspect that has though the same origin and the same concretization: the composition and the interpretation. For the last one we can refer to Oscar Wilde that considered it as the greatest artistic manifestation of Man. We will not make courageous comparisons, but we will limit ourselves to say that the interpretation is one of the keys of the casket we are trying to open to you
Underlining the points of contact with the fado, Pedro Ayres Magalhães said that also in Madredeus the interpretation is a job of the singer that is then alone in weaving the emotions buried in lyrics and melody. It is Teresa that has the role of being a lens for the light of feeling and it is in that task that she shows her extraordinariness as singer.
And this last adjective should be seen also in the etymological meaning of it because the interpretative way chosen and maybe discovered is risky and implies talent and not ability. Teresa Salgueiro detaches infact from the fado interpretative canon and from the interpretative moods of english-language-music; she detaches from that proposing a simple, clean singing, without any virtuosistic flourishings so that the little and rare ornaments that Teresa bestow us during the concert become pearls much more appreciated than the incredible and continuous virtuosities of Dulce Pontes or Mariah Carey, even if these singers have a technical background much richer than the one of Teresa. In Teresa's singing all the technical and interpretative effort convert itself into a particular control of the volume of the voice, of the accents, of the disposition of the words on the rhythm. It is a quiet, pacific, slow and meditative singing. The high notes are privileged and this fact tends to mask the strength of this singing showing us how the passion that his inside it is "retained". The warmth and the colour of the interpretation have an intensity that is unknown to the vast majority of the music from behind the ocean; this interpretation is infact full of a unique and typically Madredeus way to express feelings. It is a crying, a rejoicing and a screaming that are subdued, deep, hidden in the folds of the vibrato, in the dance of the volume, in the imperceptible inflections of the voice and of our state of mind that allow us to give to these light sonorous images the meanings that our heart secretly desires. That is possible because the interpretation is always maintained implicit and become explicit only in the reflexion that it has in us. These vague considerations full of difficult concepts can appear pretentious if we consider what it has to describe (the voice of a woman), but the vagueness is the demonstration of the subjectivity of music-reading, while the hardness of the concepts demonstrates the difficulty of describing properly a voice and a interpretative path that have no comparisons. Though the voice and the interpretation of Teresa Salgueiro evolved together with the discographic path of Madredeus. The manifest of the messages of every album is contained in the way in which Teresa brings to the listener the songs of that album. (you will find the necessary explanations in the reviews of the albums) Teresa also composes the songs; she composes them without writing, she models them without touching them. Teresa is the inspirer muse that, because of the mere fact of existing, alters the perceptions and the artistic realizations of the persons that are near her. In this way happened to Madredeus at the moment of the discovery of her. The first phrase of the first "declarations of proposals" contained in the booklet of "Os Dias da Madredeus" is "The voice of Teresa unveiled to be the most unforeseeable inspiration".I think that this declaration is fundamental to understand how Teresa became muse not only for her voice, but also for her way of living. Since the beginning Teresa influenced deeply the musical path of the group intervening powerfully as a source of inspiration. From every interview it is evident that Teresa changed forever the perspectives of these musicians bringing them to a kind of Golden Age, much nearer to the simple things and to the things that the world spontaneously offers to us. I think that the extraordinariness of Teresa was and is hidden in his representing a lost ordinarity made of all the things that have been forgotten because they were considered as obvious; it is the beauty of the concreteness, of that reality that is not made of neon lights and drinks, but made of earth, sun, sea. Revealing the extraordinariness of the "obvious" has become one of the missions of Madredeus and Teresa must have been important in that. During the years Madredeus fully understood that Teresa incarnates all the messages and the proposals that the group put in music. This was due to the constant role of muse of Teresa. From that, the clear and distinct turn after "Existir": if in the first three albums there are no relevant photos of the group, in "O Espírito da Paz" a photo of Teresa appears and that photo can be easily seen as an icon of the album and of its atmosphere. It is a studied photo, intense, beautiful. But the exploitation of Teresa as a living symbol of Madredeus would have not had the expected results without the "Lisbon Story" affair. Wim Wenders had the intelligence and the sensitivity to understand the strength of the music and of the images that Madredeus can offer to our eyes, inserting them in the screenplay as actors of themselves. He succeeded in explaining the paradox of their celestiality lying on firm and earthly roots with few shots; but he also understood the iconic strength and the magnetism of Teresa, putting into evidence the a-temporality of her physiognomy and her graceful and elegant behaving. "Lisbon Story" baptized Teresa as the horizon of Madredeus. "Ainda", soundtrack of that film, give us in the cover her shadow on the wall. The cover of "O Paraíso" seems to mean that the album has to be read through her image. In the latest album she appears in a concrete photo. From this path we can see that Teresa is the symbol of Madredeus, but that she is also its iconic image: this is, in my opinion, the reason why the pregnancy of Teresa was not hidden, but it was instead valorized, seeing in this marvelous manifestation of life the best manifest of that peace that Madredeus defended for such a long time. Teresa is all of that and probably much more... I just wish you to find more answers to the questions that Teresa put in our heart through her singing.
from the site Madredeus - O Porto - http://go.to/madredeus