SENHORA BLUES…Ramana Vieira: Fado Da Vida

Every country has a version of “the blues.” In Portugal, it’s called “fado.” Here, you’ve got a vocalist Ramana Vieira that has a rich and earthy sound perfectly suited for the agonizing lilt. She’s accompanied by Benito Cortez-Eizbieta Polak/vi, Patrick Fahey/mand, Gratchen Hopkins/cel, Alberto Ramirez-John Clark/b, Tomas Salcedo-Beau Bledsoe/g, Ayinde Webb/dr, Steve Albini/acc and Dave Eagle/perc, and Viera composes a healthy amount of the passionate material. Her voice teams with Polak’s contemplative violin on a glowingly intimate “Ai Mouraria” and tradition meets with the modern on the buoyant “Bailinho Da Madeira” and “Fadista.” She veers and swoons through folksy rhythms on “Fado Da Vida” and “Cabo Verde” and even if you don’t know a single word of Portuguese, the meaning gets across on the alluring “Lidimo Amor” and “Nem As Paredes Confesso.” This lady is a keeper!

12 comments for “SENHORA BLUES…Ramana Vieira: Fado Da Vida

  1. Massica
    January 31, 2016 at 1:45 am

    If fado is Portuguese blues, then what Ramana Vieira sings is not fado. She has managed to bastardize our 200 year old traditional art form and twisted it to suit her Americanized ear. She may be fooling people who are not accustomed to hearing good, traditional fado. But, she’s not fooling those of us who have fado in our veins and grew up listening to it even before we were born.

    • February 1, 2016 at 8:47 am

      I wish to thank you for your opinion and I call my music fado- inspired for the record. FADO also lies in my veins with my mother singing it while I grew up and my grandfather being a well-known musician in Madeira Portugal I am NOT trying so much to suit my own American ears in that I am also not hiding the fact that I am a very proud Luso American artist having grown up with jazz as a background and Fado music as well and doing what any good musician does that is carving their own bold path by having a progressive unique signature and approach to the art form. I know what traditional fado is I studied it in Lisbon and Coimbra Portugal.I have tremendous respect for photo music its origins the history behind it and the artists that sing it in the traditional pure form as I do if you ever come to one of my concert’s you will hear a traditional fado song. I have been performing for over 20 years and I did not have traditional musicians at my beck and call it was very difficult for me to pledge out in this musical genre because I found that the traditional instrumentalists were very few and far between none the less I have persevered in order to honor my very proud heritage and celebrate my ethnicity I realize that not everybody is going to understand what I do with the music and so I hope I have shed some light.

    • john bento
      February 1, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      So there is only one way to sing Fado?? So you are saying that Ana Moura, Mariza and Amalia all sound exactly the same and are interchangeable?? Just because Ramana doesn’t sing Fado exactly the way you think it should be doesn’t mean she doesn’t sing it correctly.
      Portuguese people from the Azores or from Madeira do not speak Portuguese exactly like Portuguese people from the mainland but that doesn’t mean they speak it incorrectly or that they are somehow “less’ Portuguese. Picasso didn’t paint people exactly the way they looked so based on your theory he was a lousy painter?? Music like art is open to interpretation. Ramana was nominated for an IPMA award by people who know Fado as opposed to critics who just think they do.

      • PLP
        February 2, 2016 at 7:37 am

        Thank you. I completely agree with you. Thanks for saying it. I love Ramana’s albums!

  2. Poly_music
    February 1, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    First of all Mr. Harris, “what is your background in Portuguese music?” I went and listen to a view of Ramana’s tracks and they certainly are not within the realm of “classic/traditional Fado” in fact it would be a stretch to even say it’s “fado inspired”. Fado is the heart and soul music of the Portuguese people with themes about tragedy, love and family. While I am assuming that Ms. Vieira is Portuguese, her vocal stylings sound like an American trained vocalists trying to interpret Fado. Now I believe if you want to experiment with music and then sing it in the Portuguese language that’s possible, but it is not fado under any circumstance or even by association. I personally believe that if you’re going to present classic Portuguese music to the masses, you should do it accurately within the traditions!

    Obrigado pelo seu tempo e consideração.


    • john bento
      February 1, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      Fado is the heart and soul music of the Portuguese but to imply that only a native speaker can sing Fado is absurd. You don’t have to be born in Portugal to speak Portuguese nor do you have to be born there to sing in Portuguese either. I was born here but I am fluent. My parents were born there but they still had to “learn” to speak the language, they weren’t born speaking it. I am familiar with all the well known Fado singers and they all “interpret” to an extent and add they own angle, that doesn’t mean that they are incorrect in their approach any more that Ramana is.

    • February 11, 2016 at 10:54 am

      Thank you for contacting Although I am not Portuguese (I am actually Greek!), I have Portuguese friends who turned me on to fado many years ago. I have music by Amalia and Mariza, etc and have seen Ana Moura in concert. My opinion of fado is the same as that of American “blues” in that it can take and absorb many shapes and styles. It can be Howlin’ Wolf, Count Basie or The Rolling Stones, and fans of one may despise the other. I hope that helps!

  3. lukaszenko
    February 2, 2016 at 8:58 am

    Ramana’s last album “Fado Da Vida” is a refreshing new take on fado music. It does not come from the backstreets of Lisboa and claim itself to be traditional, but is inspired by her background and heritage, which is Portuguese. I was also fortunate enough to hear much of the new album performed live at a concert venue in Berkeley, Ca. Her voice is amazing and the instrumentation that accompanies it is well written and inspiring. She is a great addition to any music collection and a blessing to have within the Portuguese music collection.

  4. bellacindy
    February 2, 2016 at 9:22 am

    I think Ramana sings beautiful Fado music. I have been a fan for many years! She is the “Real Deal” Have all her albums and loo forward to the next.

  5. Poly_music
    February 2, 2016 at 10:32 am

    John Bento, “I’m afraid you’ve gone off the rails a bit! Nobody implied or stated that somebody had to be a “native speaker”, where did you get that from? In fact there was no discussion at all on the subject.” And as for your statement that “. I am familiar with all the well known Fado singers and they all “interpret” to an extent” traditional fado singers don’t interpret, they have their own style, timbre and dynamics! You expressed your opinion on fado as a musical free-for-all, the point is once you start throwing the traditions and styling’s of fado to the wind, “then it’s no longer fado”!

    Now as well within your realm of opinion to say these things and that’s fine, but thinking like that is what destroys musical tradition and turns it into something generic and not unique. One of my current favorites is Cristina Bronco, but I would not consider her a “hard-core traditional” Fadista. But what Cristina does have is the immense talent, a beautiful voice and depth. Music nowadays is highly subjective, but traditional music needs to remain traditional and all the other free will thinkers that want to interpret it can do that. I mean if I took 100 Watt Marshall amplifier and banged out three chords at ear shattering volume and then sang a couple of expressive Portuguese phrases; would that be fado?

  6. Nelson_Andrade
    February 2, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    What a great gift of singing and music Ramana has shared with the world!
    Lots of range in her voice and instrumental music, as well!

Leave a Reply