An unmistakable expressive voice. Spacious music based on fado. This is "Fado Camões", the new album by Portuguese singer and composer, LINA_ to be released worldwide on 19 January 2024 on the German label Galileo Music. “Fado Camoes” is a unique composition based on the classic poetry of Portugal’s most celebrated historical poet, Luís Vaz de Camões and follows on from the critically acclaimed album “Lina_Raül Refree” which celebrated the songs of Amália.
LINA_ is now in the company of British producer and musician Justin Adams, in what turns out to be a more personal album, based on the lyrics of Camões, with compositions from traditional fados and also written by LINA_. For this new project, LINA_ researched the poetry of Camões As LINA_ says in her own words, "I became curious, I wanted to know more, beyond ‘The Lusíadas' or the 'Sonetos', and I discovered that Camões' themes - change, childhood, love, falling out of love or the description of nature - could be adapted to fado and its metrics."
Portuguese poet and essayist, Nuno Júdice, describes the duet of a perfect poem and perfect voice as follows, “Only a perfect voice can sing a perfect poem. The way they work together makes us hear, beyond time, instruments and words, the song of poetry itself. It is this miracle that we have in Lina's voice and in the musical recreation that we find in these songs. More than fado, more than a Portuguese identity, it is the return to that Iberian spirit that characterised Portugal until the 17th century that we are now seeing reborn, with the unprejudiced purity of an interpretation in which portuguese and Galician come together in total harmony, as in the Galician-Portuguese origin of the two languages, which are now autonomous."
After the wide recognition of “Lina_Raül Refree”, there are justified expectations for this new work. In 2020, “Lina_Raül Refree” was voted album of the year in the presitigious World Music Charts Europe and also won the first edition of the Carlos do Carmo Prize 2021. Now, with “Fado Camoes” a new chapter is now beginning alongside musician, composer and producer, Justin Adams, best known for productions featuring Robert Plant, Rachid Taha, Tinariwen, Jah Wooble or Souad Massi as well as collaborations with distinguished names such as Brian Eno or Sinead O' Connor. In a nutshell: someone who has always been committed to the idea of mixing the traditional with contemporary elements. Growing up in Egypt, he promoted the encounter between the blues and the traditional dynamics of Maghreb music, and now these influences have been carried over into his work with fado singer, LINA_.
Not surprisingly the voice and the chords of the Portuguese guitar in fado cohabit a certain Africanised swing and atmosphere, as in "Quando veria vos", or "In labirinto", with the subtle presence of percussion between the voice, or on the loose side of "Desencontro", while in "O que temo e o que desejo", a duet with Asturian folkloric agitator Rodrigo Cuevas, it's an insinuating Latin rhythm that meets the chords of fado.
It's both a new and a familiar LINA_ that we glimpse in the new work. The stripped-down elegance of the recent past is still there, but now there's a new spatiality, where the voice stands out amid the piano, guitar and almost silence, creating other scenarios, with pain, fairness and dignity going hand in hand, as in "Desamor" or "Senhora minha". In "Amor é um fogo que se arde sem se ver" (Love is a fire that burns without being seen), LINA_'s voice is suspended in an atmosphere almost akin to silence, with only a few guitar chords and a digital mist as support, while in "Pois meus olhos não cansam de chorar" (For my eyes never tire of crying), concrete noises are integrated between piano notes, with Camões' poetry revealing itself in scenes of melancholy but also celebration.
The musicians on “Fado Camoes” include Pedro Viana on Portuguese guitar, Englishman John Bagott, who has worked with Massive Attack, Portishead and Robert Plant, on piano and keys, and Ianina Khmelik on violin for two songs. "Raul and Justin have this curiosity about discovering links between the traditional and the contemporary, but this time the process was different," says Lina. "In this case, I made the demos at home and idealised the moods of each song, then came up with the arrangements and production processes. It was hard work. That's why it's a disc signed only by me. Compared to the previous one, this one focuses more on language, writing, poetry and the structure of Camões' poems that can be combined with fado. The other was more about the music, the sound, the textures."
While “Fado Camoes” is a more personalised work, there are still an important range of collaborations on the album as with Portuguese singer, Amélia Muge who authored the music and lyrics for the song "Senhora minha" and was also a pivotal voice in adapting the lyrics. "Nothing is done alone," says LINA_. "Amélia was very special. My shoulder along the way. Her opinions were fundamental. I learnt a lot from her."
The “Fado Camões" Tour starts in January 2024 and features LINA_ on vocals, synthesisers and percussion accompanied by Pedro Viana on Portuguese guitar, Ianina Khmelik on violin, acoustic piano and synthesisers, and John Baggott is also expected to appear on some dates. This doesn't stop LINA_ from continuing to perform assiduously at the Fado Club in Lisbon, where she is a resident: "It's vocal and emotional training", as she puts it, to achieve results like those of "Fado Camões", where her vocal expression and the music renew fado and the soul of those who listen to her.
Luís Vaz de Camões (c.?1524 or 1525 – 10 June 1580), sometimes rendered in English as Camoens is considered Portugal's and the Portuguese language's greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Milton, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work “Os Lusíadas” (The Lusiads). His collection of poetry “The Parnasum of Luís de Camões” was lost during his life. The influence of his masterpiece Os Lusíadas is so profound that portuguese is sometimes called the "language of Camões". “Fado Camões" releases through Galileo Music on the 13th October, 2023 and is the first single from LINA’s 2024 album ‘Fado Camões’.