Madredeus: Spirit of Lisbon (the Very Best of Madredeus)

“Fado” means ” fate or burden” and that is how we could interpret the sound of music with this kind of label. Under the weight of fate usually one does not sing and jump with joy yet giving up to its difficulties leads nowhere either. A wife of a mariner stands at the sea shore watching her man going away in a floating bark somewhere into the faraway waters; hard to say if she sees him ever again and all she can do is to sing a song full of sadness and hope. Such feelings are internationally comprehensible and apply to others universally; it is easy to imagine the sadness of a woman whose man is leaving her on a combine-harvested heading right into the wide fields in Ohio.


Madredeus have sold three millions of records until now. In 1987 during recording their first albm Os dias da Madredeus it would be too hard to believe; it was all recorded in their rehearsal room and the songs had to fit into five minute sequences set by the tram going past in regular intervals. Madredeus would remain a locally renowned band if it wasn’t for being noticed by Wim Wenders back in the nineties. It is hard to say what his movie Lisbon Story really is about; the story of a sound master Phillip who searches for a disappeared movie director to finally get lost in the city himself; in the music and beautiful eyes of a singer Teresa Salgueiro. In the end it works more like a form to celebrate the spirit of Lisbon and its music. Wenders “discovered” and introduced fado to the world in the same way as it was in case of a Cuban music five years later through the movie Buena Vista Social Club. Soundtrack from Lisbon Story called Ainda is probably one of the most beautiful ones and due to the role of music in the movie, it certainly works as an self-standing album too.



“Golden age” of the group that played as a quintet or a sextet with a guitar, piano, cello, harmonica, bass and singing lasted until the break of the millennium with the records O Espírito da Paz and O Paraíso; in 2000 came the first best off selection Antología. The group then started to split and the core members, a cellist Francisco Ribeira and an accordion player Gabriel Gomes left for their dislike of the shifting away from a traditional fado. Trying to get attention of other groups of audience was obvious for example on the record Electronico from 2002, consisting of remixes of famous compositions in a style of Café del Mar, and that is probably about as good as an elevator or relaxation music.

The last knob that was holding the “good old” Madredeus together was pulled out by the singer Teresa Salgueiro, whose high soprano was the “label” of the group; since 2007 she only sings on her own; for example on a solo record Obrigado with José Carreras or Caetano Veloso.  Nowadays Madredeus in a modified formation as for individual musicians and instruments (bass and electric guitar) and with a new singer does not have the unique hallmark and they sound more like a band of recruited musicians riding a wave someone else has started before.



Sadly in 2010 a core member of the group, a cellist Francisco Ribeiro, died of cancer and it was about time to close the chapter by their biggest hits album. The core of a selection called Spirit of Lisbon is created by “hits” from a selection Antología, and the record contains two CDs with various better or worse remixes. For a listener who wants to get acquainted with Madredeus it is an ideal choice; if there is a bit of a melancholia in your heart, Spirit of Lisbon will take you from the town to the seashore of Atlantics at the end of eighties with an old tram rambling behind the window and mariners wives singing their sad songs about the rough sea…


Madredeus: The Spirit of Lisbon (The Very Best of Madredeus)

Formate: Audio CD (2 discs), 

Released: 2012

Label: Nascente








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