On digital platforms since October 20, the final re-release of the eleventh and final album recorded by José Afonso for Orfeu (Coimbra vados and other songs) will now be presented in plenary session. He will be in Coimbra, next Friday, November 10, in the historic Café Santa Cruz, where they will speak from 3 pm with journalist Nuno Gallobim (from Antena 1, who will broadcast live) and musician Janetta Salome (who participated in the original recordings), Musicologist Rui Vieira Neri and journalist and guitarist Manuel Portugal, associated with the Coimbra song and son of guitarist Antonio Portugal (1931-1994), who played in Orpheon Académico with José Afonso. At this plenary session, physical versions (on CD and vinyl) of the current release will be present.
It was recorded by José Afonso at the “request of people associated with Orfeo,” the singer’s son, Pedro Afonso, told PÚBLICO in October. Coimbra vados and other songs It consists of ten themes, eight of which are from the repertoire of singer and poet Imundo Bettencourt (1899-1973): Greetings from Coimbra, Fado Danto, Lady of the Murtau, High sea, Fado of the proposal, Fado from clear eyes, Insomnia that it Crucified. The rest was already recorded on an EP from 1960: Autumn songWritten by José Afonso himself and Turn from Coimbra, a popular topic. José Afonso was accompanied on the recordings, at Estúdios Rádio Triunfo, by Octavio Sergio (coimbra guitar), Dorval Moreinhas (viola), and just about the subject Turn from CoimbraJeanetta Salome (Viola) and Julio Pereira (Cavaquinho). The graphics on the album cover are by José Santa Bárbara.
Coimbra vados and other songs It is the only album by José Afonso that contains an explicit dedication. Inside it can be read: “To Edmondo Bettencourt. To my father.” Bettencourt being, as Herberto Helder described him in 1963, “a rare poet concealed from the public by an immense silence” (in a text that would later incorporate, with an appendix, Herberto’s introduction to the edition of Bettencourt’s poems by Aserio and Alvim, in 1999), he was also A singer whom José Afonso admired, in an interview with the newspaper On the marchin 1981, stated that the album met “two criteria”: “First, to show that an individual with a progressive background, who was associated with Coimbra, could perfectly sing his Fada with a certain artistic quality. On the other hand, it is a personal tribute that I pay to Edmundo Bettencourt .
The chosen accompaniment was due to an episode that Octavio Sergio remembers in a text he wrote for the exhibition catalogue Desta Canção que Apeteço – documentary work by José Afonso, 1953-1985 (Ed. AJA/CMG): “I was invited to record an album with Jeanetta Salome, Blackbird, which collaborated with Dorval Moreinhas on viola. One of the LP’s numbers was the popular one Fado from Alentejo (Maria, your beautiful name)And, to our surprise, José Afonso, who was Janeta’s “master”, appeared in the recording studio to translate (like a maestro!) this fado, but at a much faster pace than the original version of the song. We are used to referring to this meaning like a real orchestra conductor. Recorded for the Orfeu album blackbird It was published in 1980.
Coimbra vados and other songsAccording to Octavio Sergio, “it ended up being only two or three rehearsals”: “One of them was at my house in Almada, where I was living at the time, where the three of us were mainly rehearsing in the studio. Zica’s voice still retained the magic of the initial recordings, but it became Now more mature, it wasn’t that hard to follow.And they were there, just as in blackbirdOctavio, Dorval and Janetta himself do not sing, but play the guitar.
In a more recent book, Desire for music – as Cantigas Zica does (Ed. Tradisom, 2021), researcher Octavio Fonseca analyzes the recordings from an acoustic and instrumental point of view. He says: “Jose Afonso tried to emulate Bettencourt in terms of stopping moments, but in general he designed a less clear commentary with greater balance, although in Greetings from Coimbra You have moments when Bettencourt overtakes. Regarding the traditional “ais”, like Edmundo Bettencourt, José Afonso only adopted it in Lady of the Murtau that it CrucifiedHe adds further, “He moved away from other characteristics of Coimbra singing, such as developing an almost operatic sound, as he did in the first recordings”, and “removed excessive interpretive drama, as well as vocal fraud”.
His vision of instrumental accompaniment is also one of innovation: “Octavio Sérgio and Dorval Moreinhas respected the structure of the arrangements, but they did not reproduce the solutions from the original recordings. They designed new lines for the parts and the accompaniment. These lines, naturally more modern musically, fit perfectly into the style of singing , and reinforces the more global character of these versions.
reissuing Coimbra vados and other songsclosing the chapter of albums recorded by José Afonso for Orfeu, does not, however, end the reissue of his work that the family started in October 2021, in partnership with Mais 5. There is the promise, confirmed by Pedro Afonso to PÚBLICO, to “ edit José Afonso’s entire discography, without exception.
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