Started journey of self-discovery in India: Portuguese singer

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Udaipur, Feb 14 (IANS) She has mesmerised the world with her brand of traditional Portuguese music Fado, playing sold out concerts and releasing albums that achieved Platinum and Gold status in her country. But singer Carminho reveals that behind her fame and success is one eventful journey to India 10 years ago, which led her down a path of self-discovery.

The singer, who performed at the maiden edition of the World Music Festival here on Saturday, says she came to India a decade ago and visited Rajasthan and Kolkata.

“I’m playing in India for the first time, but it is not the first time I have been here. I was here 10 years ago in Rajasthan and Kolkata,” Carminho told IANS here.

“For me, it is very special because I started in India a journey of discovering myself when I was 21 years old. It was a journey to discover my vocation and my way of living. Actually, I discovered with that trip 10 years ago that I wanted to be a singer professionally,” she added.

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The 31-year-old said that returning to India as a performer from being a traveller is “like a cycle”.

“For the first time, I can give back what India gave to me. I can give what I learned in these 10 years because India gave me so much,” she added.

What are some of the changes that she has noticed during her second trip?

“I think a lot of things changed for better. Also, a lot of things I like about the culture stayed the same. I am always very welcome and people are very friendly and nice. I feel great here,” she said.

Carminho, who enchanted the crowd with her brand of Fado in a language unbeknownst to most, describes the musical genre as the “blues of Portugal”.

“Fado is a Portuguese tradition of music. It is acoustic, it started a long time ago in the poor neighbourhoods in the cities. It is like our blues. People with a lot of difficulties in life got a way to express those feelings in a good way, translating them into music,” she said.

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“They started coming together as a community with players, singers and poets. Firstly, it wasn’t an artistic language, but a human language, which became an artistic way of expression,” she added.

Carminho says that her music is steeped in tradition and while some other artistes in the genre like to experiment with different styles, she prefers to play Fado the way it is supposed to be played.

“Fado has a lot of history, with rules and you must remain within rules because then it is not Fado anymore. A lot of people like to mix it with different styles, which is also very nice, but I like to play traditional Fado. I play with acoustic and Portuguese guitar players, which is the traditional formation,” she said.

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Fado is said to be melancholic in nature, but Carminho says that it is not the best tag for the genre, as it is “the translation of the feelings of the heart”.

“It is melancholic, but it is not just that. The music is deep, but not sad. Even if we sing the sadness deeply, it brings out the harmony and joy and intensity. I feel like an interpreter more than a singer.

“When you sing the life of people, you don’t just sing sadness. I agree that Portuguese people are melancholic, but happiness is there too. It’s more than that,” she added.

The two-day World Music Festival will conclude on Sunday.

(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of the World Music Festival organisers. He can be contacted at [email protected])

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