Amalia Rodrigues, Tudo Isso é Fado

Besides Maria Severa, Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999) is one of the most admired Fado artists of Lisbon. She was certainly the most pioneering voice of modern Fado.

Known as the Rainha do Fado – Queen of Fado – she was extremely influential in popularizing the fado worldwide. She was also one of the most important figures in the genre’s development, and she enjoyed a 50-year recording and stage career.

Amália’s performances and choice of repertoire pushed fado’s boundaries and helped redefine it and reconfigure it for her and subsequent generations. In effect, Amália wrote the rulebook on what fado could be and on how a female fadista — or fado singer — should perform it, to the extent that she remains an unsurpassable model and an unending source of repertoire for all those who came afterwards.Amália enjoyed an extensive international career between the 1950s and the 1970s, although in an era where such efforts were not as easily quantified as today.

Amália Rodrigues remains today as Portugal’s most famous artist and singer, a woman who was born into a poor family and who grew to become not only Portugal’s major star but also an internationally acclaimed artist and singer, whose career spanned half a century of activity, recording songs in several languages (especially Portuguese, Spanish, French, English and Italian), versions of her own songs, most famously ‘Coimbra’ (April In Portugal), and performing all over the world, achieving tremendous success in countries like France, Italy, Spain, the USA, Mexico, Brazil, Romania, Japan and The Netherlands, among many others.

Her personality and charisma, and her extraordinary timbre of voice, gave depth and intense life to her chant: the impression she made on the public, her immediacy and the natural way she empathized with her public were tremendous and attracted more and more admirers throughout the world. As of her death in 1999 Amália had received more than 40 decorations and honors from all over the world (mostly France, including the Légion d’Honneur, Lebanon, Portugal, Spain, Israel and Japan).

She was the main inspiration to other well-known international fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, and Mariza.

Tudo isso é fado

Perguntaste-me outro dia
Se eu sabia o que era o fado
Disse-te que não sabia
Tu ficaste admirado
Sem saber o que dizia
Eu menti naquela hora
Disse-te que não sabia
Mas vou-te dizer agora
Almas vencidas
Noites perdidas
Sombras bizarras
Na Mouraria
Canta um rufia
Choram guitarras
Amor ciúme
Cinzas e lume
Dor e pecado
Tudo isto existe
Tudo isto é triste
Tudo isto é fado
Se queres ser o meu senhor
E teres-me sempre a teu lado
Nao me fales só de amor
Fala-me também do fado
E o fado é o meu castigo
Só nasceu pr’a me perder
O fado é tudo o que digo
Mais o que eu não sei dizer.


All this is Fado

The other day, you asked me
whether I knew what fado was
I left you dumbfounded
when I told you I didn’t 
I lied to you then
without knowing what I was saying
I told you I didn’t know what fado was
But now I do
Defeated souls,
Lost nights,
Bizarre shadows,
At Mouraria
so the pounce sings,
the guitars cry
Jealous love
Dark and light
Pain and sin
All of which exists
All of which is sad
All of which is fado

If you want to be my man,
to have me always by your side
then don’t talk to me about love alone
but also, about Fado
Fado is my pain
I was only born to lose myself
Fado is all I have to say
And all that I cannot