CULTURE

Leading fado revivalist Misia back for two shows

Brought to the attention of locals mostly through curiosity for exotic styles generated by the industry-driven world music scene of more recent times, Portuguese fados have proven considerably popular in Greece, judging by the frequent visits by fado artists. Misia, one of the early 20th-century song form’s more important contemporary figures, who has performed here in the past, returns for two shows at the Athens and Thessaloniki Concert Halls next Monday and Tuesday respectively. Often described as the successor to the late Amalia Rodrigues, fado’s most legendary figure, Misia quickly established a reputation for bringing a loftier poetic aspect to the old popular Portuguese musical form. On this latest visit, Misia will present «Lisboarium,» showcasing work by guitar greats such as Armandinho, Jose Nines, Jaime Santos, and Fontes Rocha, as well as significant poets, the core figure here being Fernando Pessoa. Misia’s «Lisboarium» show also includes a tribute to her friend Mario de Sa-Carneiro, a distinctive contemporary poet in Portugal. She has also included a song based on «Desespero,» a poem for a lover by the Portuguese poet Jose Carlos Ary dos Santos, a leftist with a revolutionary vein who is renowned as one of his country’s most relevant poets of the 20th century. Misia’s «Lisboarium» will begin with a duet for two guitars. Misia surfaced in 1991 with a self-titled LP and then returned three years later with «Fado.» It was followed in 1995 by «Tanto Menos Tanto Mais. Garros dos Sentidos,» a major hit around Europe that led to a European release in 1998, «Paixoes Diagonais.» Like Greek rebetika, Spanish flamenco, Argentinean tango and American blues, the fado song – like all these aforementioned musical forms – rose amid urban poverty early in the 20th century. Moreover, like all these genres, the fado, a peripheral song form during its early days, was eventually embraced by mainstream listeners. The fado first found sympathy among homesick sailors and the urban poor. Rodrigues, whose career began in the late 1930s, dominated the fado scene for six decades, until her death in 1999, around the time when the Portuguese song form begun gaining a reputation abroad. Misia was one of several new-generation fado revivalists who emerged around this time and helped bring younger domestic audiences closer to the previously outdated song form, as well as acquaint listeners abroad. Though active in the modern world and willing to offer new ideas to fados, Misia has remained respectful, as indicated by some of her recordings on old equipment and collaborations with veteran musicians.