After a four-year interval, Helder Moutinho returns with a new album entitled “Que fado é este que trago?”, a successor to the award wining “Luz de Lisboa”, released in 2004 (Amália Rodrigues Award 2005).
Produced by António Pinheiro da Silva, with musical direction and arrangements by the young and talented guitar player Ricardo Parreira, the album also features the participation of several musicians from the new generation of Fado artists.
In “Que fado é este que trago?”, Helder Moutinho is our guide on a journey through an imaginary history of Fado. This journey takes us through 15 songs divided into three different stopping places: first we have the classic/traditional Fados, then the Fado-songs/descriptive Fados, and finally the present-day original Fados.
The opening track, after which the album is named, “Que fado é este que trago?” introduce us to the world of one of the three great classic Fados, that together with Fado Mouraria and Fado Corrido represent the classic trilogy of Fado. The song begins with a musical introduction inspired in the Fado Menor, which then merges into an original melody written by the Portuguese-Angolan musician Nando Araújo, aka Yami. The song poetically depicts the different elements that characterize the Fado of the past and the Fado of today, leaving us with a timeless and endless question: “where did the Fado come from, where has it been, and where is it going…”
“Perdi-me nos olhos teus”, with lyrics by Helder Moutinho and using the melody of Fado Mouraria, reveals to us some of the introductions created for this Fado by the most emblematic Fado guitar players throughout the history of this musical genre. Great Portuguese guitar players have created their own unique way of interpreting this Fado, both instrumentally and regarding the musical accompaniment. The history of Fado Mouraria also includes a way of writing that was widely favoured by popular poets between the early 20th century and the 60s.
In this Fado, Helder and his group present us those different interpretations as a tribute to the old poets and instrumentalists; by following the poetic concept that determined the way those poets wrote, but using original words, Helder tells us a story inside the story, as if it was “One more Fado inside the Fado”.
Next, we can hear “Labirinto ou não foi nada”, with lyrics by David Mourão Ferreira and music by Helder Moutinho (Fado Labirinto). If in the past, some of the most important composers have written traditional Fados during their careers, nowadays we can still keep on creating traditional Fados, respecting their structure: quatrains, decasyllables, sestets, quintets, versicles, and alexandrines with melodies without refrain. In “Labirinto ou não foi nada”, we have quatrains in a new traditional Fado.
Our journey proceeds with “A Saudade”, a traditional Fado from the second half of the 20th century, with a poem written in a popular and traditional language, and with music by the guitar player Fontes Rocha.
“A cor dos olhos” was written using the melody of the traditional Fado Artilheiro, an old Fado in terms of its music and lyrics. Performed by the classic Fado trio, in this Fado we can also hear percussions and accordion, challenging the listener with the following question: how many other instruments can we add to the traditional Fado without it losing its whole essence?
In our second stopping place, we encounter Lisbon, muse of the great poets of Fado, and of its traditional neighbourhoods, in two Fados-songs/descriptive Fados: “Rua do Meio”, a Fado composed by Helder Moutinho together with guitar player Manuel d´Oliveira; and “Vielas de Alfama”, a fruitful partnership between Max and Artur Ribeiro. These two Fados take us through Alfama, Madragoa, and Lapa. In “Rua do Meio”, Helder recalls the time when he lived in Rua do Meio à Lapa, next to Madragoa, the neighbourhood where his father was born and raised.
With the eighth track begins the final stop of the journey proposed by Helder Moutinho: a musical walk through the original songs of our time, the Fados of the new generation of composers. “Fado à janela” composed by the young Fado singer Marco Oliveira is the first of this group of six songs; “Diário que me resta” is an original composition by the talented “viola” Diogo Clemente, and “E num segundo” is a theme composed by Luiz Caracol, a member of the pop group “Luiz e a Lata”.
The remaining songs result from collaborations of Helder Moutinho with other musicians of the new generation of Fado, such as the bass player of his trio, Nando Araújo in “À espera de uma paixão”, Miguel Monteiro (“Caixinha de música”), Ricardo Parreira (“Esta voz”), and two further partnerships with the guitar player Manuel d´Oliveira: “Tenho uma onda no mar” and “Nem ventos nem madrugadas”.
Between the album’s opening track, which may be considered as a foreword in a book, and the final song, which may be seen as a conclusion, we can find a question and an answer.