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Deolinda Oeiras 1.JPG
Deolinda live in Monchique
Background information
Origin Lisbon, Portugal
Genres Portuguese
World music
Years active 2006–present
Labels EMI
Members Ana Bacalhau
Luís José Martins
Pedro da Silva Martins
José Pedro Leitão

Deolinda is an acoustic Portuguese “neofado” group, whose music often deals with social and political commentary. Founded in 2006, their first album was released in 2008, which went double platinum. Their second was in the top ten in Portugal for over fifteen weeks. They have toured the United States, Canada and Europe and have played at festivals such as the World Music Expo and the Festival Internacional Cervantino.


Ana Bacalhau

Deolinda was founded in 2006[1][2] as an acoustic group[3] named after a fictional young women, who loves fado and comments on contemporary Portugal. Singer Ana Bacalhau states that she is “the sum of our four personalities.”[4]

The group has four members, singer Ana Bacalhau, brothers (and Ana’s cousins) Pedro da Silva Martins and Luis José Martins, and Ana’s husband José Pedro Leitao. All four has been involved in various musical activities before Deolinda. Ana Bacalhau (literally, Ana Salted Cod) was a fado-jazz punker in a band called Lupanar (2001-2006) before Deolinda, which was much more macabre and cutting.[2][5] Luis José Martin (guitar, ukulele, viola, Portuguese cavaco and guitarlele) is conservatory trained, and double bass player Pedro Leitão (meaning Suckling Pig), has a classical and jazz background.[2][3]

Pedro da Silva Martins

The ensemble’s origin is over a dinner between Ana and her cousins, discussing the idea of collaborating. They stated they pulled out their instruments and found they had an unspoken “chemistry.” Soon after they added bass player Leitao, who is now Bacalhau’s husband.[2][4] They quickly became popular in clubs,[4] with a reputation gained by word-of-mouth, attracting attention from record labels by 2007.[2]

Their debut album Cancao Ao Lado (2008) went double-platinum in Portugal with shows beginning to sell out.[4] The album remained one of the most popular in Portugal for over two years.[6] Their second album, Dois Selos E Um Carimbo (2010) was in the top ten in the country for fifteen weeks after it came out.[1]


Zé Pedro Leitão and Luís José Martins

Although strongly associated with fado (lit. fate), a usually dark and somber form of Portuguese music, they do not play it, at least not traditionally.[4] Traditional fado faded during Portugal’s dictatorship in the 20th century, but it has made a comeback, by a generation that grew up on Pearl Jam and Nirvana, but who also rediscovered the recordings of their grandparents’ generation.[4][5] This rediscovery, created a new wave of fado, sometimes called neofado, which includes artists such as Mariza, Dulce Pontes and Ana Moura, who respect the classics (e.g. the work of Amalia Rodriguez), but have created their own versions, generally fusing other musical styles and/or using electrified instruments.[4][5][7]

Deolinda’s work also integrates other musical styles, including pop, folks and blues, but they do use only acoustic instruments.[3][4] Their work is even more distinct in that it is musically more whimsical and playful, sometimes called “happy fado” and even when serious, is never brooding.[7]

Ana Bacalhau

Their lyrics are elliptical and ironic, generally dealing with social interactions and human frailties, often with humor.[5][6][7] Their work is an indirect form of protest music, which has its roots in the música de intervenção tradition of Portuguese folk musicians, before the 1974 Carnation Revolution, which ended five decades of dictatorship. Like their predecessors, their criticism is indirect, using metaphors a lighter pop sound. One of their most popular songs, Parva que eu sou, has become a kind of anthem for students and young people frustrated with the lack of economic opportunities.[5][6]

Most of their work is written from the perspective of a fictional young woman named Deolinda, created by the group’s songwriter Pedro da Silva Martins.[2] Deolinda lives with her cats and goldfish in a Lisbon apartment, watching the world through her window and commentating on what she sees.[2] Deolinda loves Portugal, but sees its flaws, and comments on them and other aspects of life in the country.[5]

Initially Silva Martins wrote two songs about Deolinda but fans demanded more, so she became the focus of the group’s.[2] The tactic has been so successful that Deolinda appear as a cartoon character on the first two albums, and she continues to be the voice in the third, Mundo pedqenino, released in 2013.[5]

The departure from the musical style, which is only obliquely evoked, and subject matter of traditional fado has led to Deolinda’s music as being called “not fado”[7] or called “indie neofado.”[5][7]

While the band members can play a variety of instruments, they stick to two guitars, a double bass and vocals in order to travel light.[2]


Deolinda playing Melkweg Amsterdam.

It has a reputation for flamboyant and sometimes comic performances.[3] Unlike traditional fado singers who wear black shawls, Ana wears brightly colored clothes based on traditional folk costumes of Portugal.[2] The lead singer uses theatrics, stage banter and spritely intonations to keep the attention of the audience.[5]

The band started in club, but by 2009 had played the World Music Expo,[7] followed by a major tour in the United States, Canada and Europe, playing cities such as Albuquerque, Chicago, New York, Sherbrooke, Detroit, Stockholm, Vienna, Brussels and Paris.[1] In 2014, the group was invited to perform at the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico.[8][9]


As of 2013, Deolinda the most famous neofado group in Portugal.[5] Music magazine Songlines named the group the best world beat newcomer after the release of the 2008 album, Cancao ao Lado.[1][3] The second album, Dois selos e um carimbo, won the José Alfonso Award in 2011.[9]


The founding and current members of Deolinda are:


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Sales Certifications
(sales thresholds)
2008 Canção Ao Lado
  • First studio album
  • Released: 2008
  • POR: 55,000+
  • AFP:2x Platinum
  1. Mal Por Mal
  2. Fado Toninho
  3. Não Sei Falar De Amor
  4. Contado Ninguém Acredita
  5. Eu Tenho Um Melro
  6. Movimento Perpétuo Associativo
  7. O Fado Não É Mau
  8. Lisboa Não É A Cidade Perfeita
  9. Fon-Fon-Fon
  10. Fado Castigo
  11. Ai Rapaz
  12. Canção Ao Lado
  13. Garçonete Da Casa De Fado
  14. Clandestino
2010 Dois selos e um carimbo
  • Second studio album
  • Released: 2010
  • POR: 35,000+
  • AFP:Platinum
  1. Se Uma Onda Invertesse A Marcha
  2. Um Contra O Outro
  3. Não Tenho Mais Razões
  4. Passou Por Mim E Sorriu
  5. Sem Noção
  6. A Problemática Colocação De Um Mastro
  7. Ignaras Vedetas
  8. Quando Janto Em Restaurantes
  9. Entre Alvalade E As Portas De Benfica
  10. Canção Da Tal Guitarra
  11. Patinho De Borracha
  12. Há Dias Que Não São Dias
  13. Fado Notário
  14. Uma Ilha
2013 Mundo Pequenino
  • Third studio album
  • Released: 2013
  • POR:
  • AFP:Platinum
  1. Algo Novo
  2. Concordância
  3. Gente Torta
  4. Há-de Passar
  5. Medo de Mim
  6. Musiquinha
  7. Semáforo da João XXI
  8. Seja Agora
  9. Pois Foi
  10. Balanço
  11. Doidos
  12. Não Ouviste Nada

Live albums[edit]

Year Album Chart positions Sales Certifications
(sales thresholds)
2011 Deolinda no Coliseu dos Recreios
  • First live album
  • Released: 2011
  • POR:
  • AFP:


Year Title Chart Positions Album
2008 "Fado Toninho" 18 Canção ao Lado
2010 "Um contra o Outro" 22 Dois Selos E Um Carimbo


  1. ^ a b c d "Los portugueses Deolinda inician su primera gira por Estados Unidos y Canadá: MÚSICA-FADO". EFE News Service (Madrid). September 20, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Deolinda". Four Quarters Entertainment. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Lisa Millegan Renner (September 17, 2010). "Deolinda brings its captivating sounds to the Gallo Center". McClatchy - Tribune Business News (Washington DC). 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Deolinda: a new fado". Rootsworld. 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Michael Arnold (December 9, 2013). "That Which Is Said By Not Saying: Deolinda’s Innocuous Revolution". Transverse Journal. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c "Grupo Deolinda vira sensação em Portugal com canções de protesto". Folha de S.Paulo (São Paulo). June 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Michal Shapiro (October 16, 2010). "Fun With Fado? Deolinda Plays Joe's Pub". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 25, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Agenda Cervantina". Reforma (Mexico City). October 12, 2014. p. 30. 
  9. ^ a b 42 Festival Internacional Cervantino. Mexico City: CONACULTA. 2014. p. 92. 
  10. ^ a b Deolinda discography

External links[edit]