Since releasing her debut album in 2003, Portuguese singer Ana Moura has steadily attracted and nurtured a new generation of fado fans – among them the Rolling Stones and Prince.
The 34-year-old singer recently released her fifth studio album which includes three contemporary tracks in English. The songs, including Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” are a departure from traditional fado, a Portuguese folk genre that traces its roots to the early 1800s.
However, according to Moura, the songs capture the essence of fado, which she compares to the blues: “It’s dominated by women there are in Portugal great male fado singers. But I think this is – I think it’s good. You know, but I think the reason why is because people all over the world are used to women to share their feelings more than men. And this is a strength, an incredible strength that we have.”
Fado which means “fate” is so entrenched in Portugal’s history and identity that the United Nations added it to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Intangible Cultural Heritage List.
Moura insists that the music evolve with the times and so she approached renowned American music producer Larry Klein who has worked with stars including Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman and Madeleine Peyroux.
Her new album, Desfado, also features the legendary jazz musician Herbie Hancock and saxophonist Tim Reis.
“It’s important, for example, to sing traditional fado or to play it in a different way because we have to bring something new, you know. And even unconsciously we bring it because we are part of this generation. We are always listening to different things, seeing different things,” Moura says.