The sound of Portugal comes to Bury St Edmunds ...
Gisela João is the new fado singer making waves in Portugal. In 2013, her debut album went straight to number 1 in the national charts - extremely rare for a fado record. The album achieved Gold Record status and was acclaimed as the Best Portuguese Album of the Year by major publications, such as Blitz, Expresso, Publico and Time Out.
Born and raised in Barcelos, Gisela João lived in Porto for six years, before singing won her over and took her to Lisbon. Her music is raw and authentic: “I’m very intense and I believe that real fado is that way too,” she says, “It’s very extreme.” Gisela does not reinvent fado, but she makes it her own: “When I’m singing fado I feel like there’s something bursting in my chest, such an enormous sense of relief I can’t explain.”
Her visceral singing varies from rare emotional power to slender breaths, as she resurrects the music known as Portuguese soul.
Fado’s intensely melancholic songs are usually about love and loss, expressing sadness and longing for things that were lost or that were never accomplished. It emerged as a bohemian art form in Lisbon's working-class districts in the late 18th century, but musical experts cannot agree on its true origins. Some believe its drawn-out laments are a legacy of the Moorish occupation, others say it evolved from Portuguese seafarers who sang of home during their long absences away at sea.
Amalia Rodrigues made fado well-known in the 1950s, performing all over the world, including New York's "La Vie en Rose". When Amalia died in 1999, the government declared three days of national mourning and awarded her a state funeral.
“Amália Rodrigues was the greatest Fado singer of the 20th century. (…) I know, I feel, with the exact same fervor, that Gisela João is the greatest Fado singer of the 21st century.” - Miguel Esteves Cardoso, Público.
In 2014, following sold-out concerts at the Casa da Música and Belem Cultural Centre, it became evident that Gisela João was a unique and extraordinary fado singer, and represents a milestone in the history of contemporary fado.
Gisela’s concert at The Apex on Wednesday 3 June at 7.30pm will be one of the first opportunities to see this compelling artist in the UK.
Tickets are £16, or just £5 if you are under 25. Call the Box Office on 01284 758000, or visit www.theapex.co.uk for more information, or to book your tickets.