Carlos do Carmo

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Carlos do Carmo (2007).

Carlos do Carmo, ComIH (born Carlos Manuel de Ascenção do Carmo de Almeida in Lisbon, Mouraria, on 21 December 1939) is a Portuguese fado singer, one of the finest in the "Lisbon Song". He is the son of another fado singer and fado house owner, Lucília do Carmo (Lucília Nunes de Ascenção do Carmo, born in Portalegre on 4 November 1920 and died in 1999, daughter of Francisco).

He began singing and recording in 1963, with the release of the EP record "Mario Simoes e o seu Quarteto Apresentando Carlos do Carmo", and, still in 1963, the record "Carlos do Carmo e Orquestra de Joaquim Luiz Gomes". Until the end of the decade he released another eleven records. With the arrival of the 1970s came success at home and abroad, releasing close to thirty records during that decade.

Carlos do Carmo in 1976

In 1976, he won the Portuguese Song Contest, with "Uma flor de verde pinho". The song finished 12th in the Eurovision Song Contest 1976.

His most famous songs are Lágrimas de Orvalho, Lisboa Menina e Moça and Canoas do Tejo. He sang many songs written by songwriters like Ary dos Santos. He helped to open Lisbon Fado to other musical influences, like jazz and French music, as well as adding the orchestra to the traditional Fado guitar trio or quartet.

He has established his own reputation as a passionate singer of Portuguese folk songs, as well as one of the most distinctive voices in the world. He first left Lisbon in his youth, to study hotel management in Switzerland but, with the death of his father Alfredo de Almeida in 1962, do Carmo soon joined his mother to help her run their fado house, the Faia. In 1964 he married Maria Judite de Sousa Leal. Encouraged by his friends' response to his singing, do Carmo soon began to perform at the fado house. While fado remains at the core of his music, do Carmo has used Frank Sinatra-style and French-style pop balladry and Brazilian bossa nova to give his music its distinct flavor. His uniqueness, apart from the special timbre of his voice, is in his ability to bring composers from other styles such as jazz. This is mainly seen in his success Um Homem na Cidade, which although now known as a fado classic, has an obvious jazz chord progression.

His main successes came in the 1970s, as he was one of the most prominent singers commemorating freedom during the Lisbon uprising of 1974, along with Fernando Tordo and Paulo de Carvalho amongst others. In the 1980s, his remarkable Um Homem no País was the first CD ever recorded in Portugal. He has worked closely and nurtured the development of other fado singers such as Mariza and Camané. Carlos do Carmo, "The Ambassador of Fado", was instrumental in making Fado part of UNESCO's World Heritage Cultural Patrimony via countless concerts and the recording for Carlos Saura's film on fado, which premiered in 2007 at the Toronto International Film Festival. Performances in the Royal Albert Hall, Paris Olympia, Carnegie Hall and Salle Pleyel are just part of his vast gig curriculum. His great classics include Bairro Alto, Gaivota, Canoas Do Tejo, Os Putos and Estrela Da Tarde.

In 2010 he performed a special concert in Lisbon, singing songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, with the backing of the Count Basie Orchestra directed by Dennis Mackrel. The concert was "the fulfilment of a dream" according to Carlos do Carmo, and it took place on the 10th of November at Pavilhão Atlântico.

After releasing, in 2011, a record with jazz pianist Bernardo Sassetti, it has been announced that Carlos do Carmo and pianist Maria João Pires are recording a new Fado and Piano record to be released by Deutsche Grammophon before the end of 2012.

Carlos do Carmo will celebrate 50 years of his career in 2013.

He was created a Commander of the Order of Prince Henry.

His children are singer Cila do Carmo de Almeida (born Lisbon), Alfredo do Carmo de Almeida and (not fado) singer Gil do Carmo de Almeida (born Lisbon, 21 June 1973).

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Duarte Mendes
with "Madrugada"
Portugal in the Eurovision Song Contest
1976
Succeeded by
Os Amigos
with "Portugal no coração"