CULTURE

Fado’s rising star, also a doctor

Katia Guerreiro, who is currently performing a series of shows at the Half Note Jazz Club in Athens through Thursday, lives a double life – one in music as a bright new prospect in Portuguese fado, the other in medicine, where she is currently training in her field as a physician. The gap between stage and the hospital may seem unbridgeable, but the young artist-doctor, who recently released her debut album, «Fado Maior,» offered an interesting perspective on her dual role during a telephone interview with Kathimerini ahead of the shows. «I couldn’t imagine myself living only with song or medicine. I work at a hospital where I encounter patients and difficult circumstances on a daily basis. The pain that I feel does not go away when I return home,» Guerreiro explained. «Fado is the only way I can unleash my feelings and soothe them. I would never abandon it. At the same time, I’m an active doctor. I’d sacrifice a rehearsal session for an emergency case,» she added. The 26-year-old is full of life. She lives in a small Portuguese city and works at its local hospital, a job that involves regular round-the-clock shifts. During her spare time, Guerreiro enjoys traveling to Lisbon and performing abroad. Despite the activity, fatigue, she said, is a stranger in her life. Patients often recognize her as an artist and request songs, Guerreiro said, but she refuses to deliver. «Despite believing that fado contains healing qualities and can help everyone feel better – patients being no exception – I don’t do it,» she said. «Fado is a personal thing for me. I prefer talking to them and making them laugh.» Guerreiro said she believes in fado as a cross-cultural musical form, one capable of moving listeners, regardless of whether the style’s Portuguese lyrics are understood or not. «I see how the French, Belgians and Italians react during my shows. They surrender to their emotions, their eyes fill with tears, they become sensitive,» said Guerreiro, whose current shows in Athens are her first in Greece. «That’s the beauty of Portuguese music. Fado brings us into contact with our deeper selves,» she added. Over the next few months, Guerreiro expects to visit South Korea and Japan for shows. Her debut album was recently released in both countries. «Fado Maior,» the debut album, has prompted many comparisons with fado’s most legendary figure, the late Amalia Rodrigues, whom Guerreiro took lessons from. Though she stressed the unrivaled class of Rodrigues, the newcomer said she preferred following her own course, leaving favorable or unfavorable comparison aside. «There’s no doubt, Amalia was the greatest singer we’ve ever had. But I don’t want to imitate somebody else. I want to be myself,» Guerreiro said. «You can’t sing fados well without being honest and unleashing your own emotions.» Half Note Jazz Club, 17 Trivonianou, Mets, tel 210.921.3310.