The Social Role of Madredeus


" I sang fado..but a capella. Occasionally I did it with guitar, but it was a special type of fado. Since I was a child i love to sing, but the fado always seemed to me as a too strong music, that involves very strong emotions,
My love for singing comes from other sources, other kind of emotions. My mother always sang for me when i was a child. So, when i did a cast with other singers to be the vocalist of Madredeus, the three songs of the test immediatly sound familiar and very close to myself.
Since then, singing is my greatest passion because the music of Madredeus is not fado, is not popular music, does not respond to a definition that summarizes it. Its a great passion, its a music that is really close to true emotions, to other people's thoughts"

Ines, who is a baby as beautiful as his mother take a trip into her baby carriage around the lobby of the hotel , meanwhile Mrs Salgueiro and the rest of Madredeus make baggages and enjoy some drinks, they carry on the voyage that starts 13 years ago.
"Madredeus make music since 13 years ago , but we do it very lonely. Its style is very original. I admire the way they do a very personal, very original work artists like Misia or Dulce Pontes, that are the figures of highest relevance in Portugal today. They make music in portuguese but i can say that we are parte of an esthetic movement, because Madredeus have a very lonely way. Misia's way has very much history, with a special style to made songs, Dulce's way is very impressive too, including when she make songs from Amália Rodriguez.
The important thing is that in Portugal we have the happiness to see again the will to go to the concerts, to live the music in community and most of all is important that people can listen to his own music sung in portuguese."

"What part corresponds to you besides singing, in the Madredeus ship?"

"I don't compose, i only sing, but I'm normally present when Pedro write the lyrics. The words we chase are the fundamentals, because correspond to true things. I have to sing those words feeling a truth in the body. This is what I sing, clear words to express true feelings."

"The Pavlova's movements of your arms correspond to any breath technique?"

"It's not conscious - she smiles - I don't know what I'm doing when I sing. Sometimes, when I watch our videos, I'm aware of this. Sometime later from when we recorded the second album, I subscribed myself into the conservatory. There I met the breath techniques, but also I went at a vital crossroads, to keep as a student or continue as the Madredeus singer, obviously I chose the last, but the most important thing I learned was that the best in music its the natural, I mean, the pronounce, the breathe, all must be natural, the best is to do all the things in a natural way. If I subscribed myself into the conservatory was for a single reason: because I love singing, and I'm interested in learning more about it, and it was not because I would wish or even thought to be an opera singer, no, I did it simply because I love singing. I got a mexican teacher at the conservatory, I learned a lot from him."

"At the conservatory, usually they put labels to the voices. How they categorized you?"

"Light soprano, but that only works for Opera repertoires, besides that, the labels don't work."

"Does exist languages more prosodic, more musical than others? The portuguese for instance?"

"I don't know if it's more musical, I only know that it's the one I understand the most, the one I feel more. Its a privilege sing in our idiom. I sang italian and latin while I was studying at the conservatory, with my mexican teacher, but the truth is that all depends more than upon prosodic, upon the familiarity that you have with that idiom."

"Is still the fado too strong for you?"

"Yes, it's too strong for me, occasionally I sing it with friends. Recently I had the chance to record two fados with the guitarist Antonio Seiguí, that had invited me to participate to some of his concerts and in the last part of the last year he recorded his album, "El fado y otros portugueses" ("The fado and other portugueses"). It was the first time in my life I record Fado."

Now Madredeus is a great ship-builder. Before it was a chimera. Talk with us the creator of this group, Pedro Ayres Magalhães:

"The idea was to build, at those times, an idea. I was young, I had many years to work on music and I wanted to continue being a musician, but I was not at all happy of what the future let me presage. I wanted to try, in consequence of that, to make a popular music in portuguese, because the tendency was toward the electric instruments and toward a series of attitudes linked to the electrical music that I didn't want to continue.
"I had written many songs for the various groups that I had. They were sung in portuguese, but the drums and the guitars made so much noise that we didn't understand what we were singing. My position in the discussion if we had to sing in portuguese or in english, was: let's quit the percussions, let's play acoustic instruments, to understand our idiom in music. My idea was to create a group of young people, an atelier where we could grow in our abilities. This atelier functioned in a marvelous way because it was not my principal activity, nor that of Rodrigo: both of us had our own separated groups.
"Our group, existed and grew because we made songs and arrangements that were catchy. Beside quitting the percussions I proposed another variant: I had studied for many years the classical guitar in the conservatory, but I quitted because the perspectives for a classical guitarist are to make concerts or to give lessons. I had a great nostalgia of my guitar and so I introduced what I like to call "our guitaristic craftsmanship", which is, together with the voice of Teresa and the songs, the distinctive pattern of Madredeus".

"This group that you made with Rodrigo was called "Los heroes del mal" for a word-play with Le Fleur du Mal?"

"It was not for Baudelaire - Pedro smiles. It is, instead, the first sentence of our national hymn"

"Was it irony?"

"It was poetry"

"How could bloom a so counter-current idea of a popular contemporary music with cultural identity?"

"I think that fundamental thing was our attitude, an initial idea that we pursued and that is that the music must have a determinant social role. The group grew, certainly, with those preoccupations, even if many things are changed from the times in which our audience was constituted by friends, music's critics, writers, people that came for pleasure and conviction to the quarter of Madredeus to listen to us. It was a group that was not at all "professional", in the meaning that the musical industry give to that word."

taken without permission from the mexican journal "La Jornada"


Madredeus - O Porto

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