Carlos do Carmo

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Carlos do Carmo
Carlos do Carmo.jpg
Carlos do Carmo (2007)
Background information
Birth nameCarlos Manuel de Ascenção do Carmo de Almeida
Born (1939-12-21) 21 December 1939 (age 79)
OriginLisbon, Portugal
Years active1964 - still active
LabelsUniversal Music
Associated actsLucilia do Carmo , Alfredo Marceneiro , Amalia Rodrigues , José Carlos Ary dos Santos , Fernando Tordo

Carlos Manuel de Ascenção do Carmo de Almeida ComIH (born ; 21 December 1939 in Mouraria, Lisbon) better known as Carlos do Carmo is a Portuguese fado singer, one of the finest of the "Lisbon Song". He is the son of Lucília do Carmo, a well known fadista of her time.[1] (Lucília Nunes de Ascenção do Carmo, born in Portalegre on 4 November 1919 and died in 1999, daughter of Francisco).

He began singing and recording in 1963, with the release of the EP record "Mário Simões 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.

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.

Early life[edit]

Carlos do Carmo grew up in the city of Lisbon, where he lived a heavily musical influenced lifestyle. His mother was Lucília do Carmo, a fado singer that experienced success in the 1920s.[2] 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.


Carlos do Carmo in 1976

Carlos do Carmo's career thrived in the 1970s, when he released several of his most well-known songs and collaborated with a number of opponents to the Estado Novo regime, such as Fernando Tordo, Paulo de Carvalho and the poet Ary dos Santos.[3] Following the Carnation Revolution, fado saw its place as the Portuguese national music threatened by the emergence of canção de intervenção, a term encompassing Portuguese protest songs. Fado also started to lose exposure on the radio and on television; according to musicologist Rui Vieira Nery, Carlos do Carmo was an exception to this trend, because of his connection to "sectors of the democratic opposition".[4] In 1976, in the first Festival da Canção after the revolution, the organizers of the contest tried to emulate A Song for Europe's method of national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest. The procedure employed by their British counterparts consisted in choosing a single artist that would perform all the songs in the contest.[5] Carlos do Carmo was chosen as the only singer of that year's Festival da Canção and the winner of the contest was the song "Uma flor de verde pinho". Later that year, he represented his country at the Eurovision Song Contest,[6] in which he placed 12th.[5]

In 1977, Carlos do Carmo released Um Homem na Cidade, a concept album featuring an array of poems about Lisbon by Ary dos Santos.[6] The album would become one of the greatest successes of Carmo's long career,[7] and was described by Nery as being "one of the most significant albums in the whole fado discography".[6] Um Homem na Cidade's release is considered to be a changing moment in Lisbon-based fado, that up to that point still hadn't committed to the revolution.[8] The innovation came mainly with the lyrics of the album that, while not necessarily supportive of the revolution, referenced current affairs of the time, that were often censured by the regime on fado works.[9]

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. 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.

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 2019 Carlos do Carmo announced his departure from live performances.[10]


Carlos do Carmo is considered to be the most important male fadista of his generation, that came after Alfredo Marceneiro and before Camané. He is often regarded as the artist that made the transition between traditional fado and the new fado that started emerging in the 1990s.[3]


  • Não Se Morre de Saudade (1967)
  • Carlos Do Carmo (1970)
  • Fado Em Tom Maior (1971)
  • Canoas Do Tejo (1972)
  • Uma Canção Para A Europa (1976)
  • Que Se Fez Homem De Cantar (1990)
  • Ao Vivo No Olympia (1993)
  • Ao Vivo Na Ópera De Frankfurt (Alte Oper Frankfurt) (1994)
  • Dez Fados Vividos (1995)
  • Ao Vivo no CCB (1999)
  • Nove fados e uma canção de amor (2002)
  • Do Tempo Do Vinil (2003)
  • Fado Lisboa - An Evening At The "Faia" (2003)
  • Ao Vivo - Coliseu dos Recreios - Lisboa (EU Version) (2004)
  • A Arte E A Música De Carlos Do Carmo (2006)
  • Mais Do Que Amor É Amar (2006)
  • Por Morrer Uma Andorinha (2006)
  • Um Homem Na Cidade (2006)
  • Um Homem No País (2006)
  • À Noite (2007)
  • Carlos do Carmo & Bernardo Sassetti (2010)
  • Margens (2012)
  • Maria João Pires / Carlos Do Carmo (2012)
  • Fado É Amor (2013)
  • Os Sucessos de 35 Anos de Carreira: Ao Vivo no CCB (disc 2) (2015)
  • Um Homem No Mundo (2015)

Personal life[edit]

He has three children, two boys and one girl with his spouse Judite do Carmo. They were 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).

Awards and honors[edit]

Carlos do Carmo was awarded a Portuguese Golden Globe in 1998 and a Goya Award in 2008.[10] In 2014, he became the first Portuguese artist to win a Latin Grammy Award, being awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Latin Recording Academy.[7][11] Carlos do Carmo is a Commander of the Order of Prince Henry.[10]


  1. ^ "Carlos Do Carmo Biography - Albums". Retrieved 23 March 2017.
  2. ^ Arcos, Betto (9 April 2019). "At 78, Carlos Do Carmo, The 'Sinatra Of Fado,' Makes His New York Debut". National Public Radio. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ a b Mourinha, Jorge (14 August 2013). "Fados vividos". Público (in Portuguese). Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  4. ^ "25 Abril: E o fado sobreviveu à revolução" (in Portuguese). Blitz. 21 April 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  5. ^ a b Lopes, Diogo (3 March 2018). "Um homem, oito músicas e dois partidos: 1976 e as histórias do mais insólito Festival da Canção" (in Portuguese). Observador. Retrieved 19 April 2019. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  6. ^ a b c Elliott, pp. 85-86
  7. ^ a b "Carlos do Carmo é o primeiro português a conquistar um Grammy" (in Portuguese). Blitz. 1 July 2014. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  8. ^ Côrte-Real, p. 164
  9. ^ Côrte-Real, p. 166
  10. ^ a b c "Carlos do Carmo anuncia que vai abandonar os palcos" (in Portuguese). Blitz. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  11. ^ Pacheco, Nuno (1 July 2014). "Academia Latina distingue Carlos do Carmo com Grammy pela sua obra". Público (in Portuguese). Retrieved 19 April 2019.


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