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Ramana Vieira: Tudo De Mim



Fado Singer Ramana Vieira
Fado Singer Ramana Vieira

There is no doubt that being separated from the cultural topography of her soul only intensifies the sense of longing for her beloved Portugal. This seems quite evident not only in the chosen repertoire of Tudo De Mim by Ramana Vieira, the astute practitioner of Portugal’s traditional exquisitely bluesy song-form. It is also quite clear that artistically speaking, Miss Vieira has grown enormously since she burst on the scene on the West Coast of the USA, where she was born and continues to reside.

The dictionary translation of the word ‘fado’ is ‘fate’. The meaning invested in this four-letter word by the Portuguese is, however, rich, deep, and complex. The resulting music – at least in Lisboa – may be defined as an urban, café style and parallels may be drawn with rembétika, blues and the original tango. Like the former, its themes have to do with life’s harsh realities, and its [i.e., as far as fado is concerned] instrumental accompaniment is comprised largely of the [10 or 12 stringed] guitarra. Often a Spanish guitar also finds its way into the instrumental mix. Fado – unlike rembétika – is fashioned to become more accepting of destiny that resistance to it [very common in rembétika]. With the fundamental ingredients of ‘the fado’ identifiably African in origin, its almost certain that the term was first applied to this kind of guitar-accompanied dance form with a rich emotional appeal.

Ramana Vieira: Tudo De Mim
Ramana Vieira: Tudo De Mim

Miss Vieira sings the kind of fado that became the stuff of legend in the hands of the great Amália Rodrigues, the Queen of Fado. At her best, Miss Vieira illuminates this song form with extraordinary grace and eloquent lyricism. Miss Vieira is a natural mezzo, but she also has an astonishing range and control of lyric content that allows her to produce music of great beauty and emotional depth. The image of the singer – wearing the black cap of a typical fadista – on the inside off the plastic tray for the CD is a particularly iconic one and it speaks to Miss Vieira as staying as close to how a traditional fadista from Lisboa looks. In the heart and soul of her music, however, Miss Vieira brings a refreshing newness to the song form, while retaining its hard-edged emotional content, while also infusing its lyrics with charm and seduction.

The force of musicality on the repertoire on Tudo De Mim is at once intense, heartfelt, deeply traditional and also strikingly innovative. Profundity that’s usually conveyed through an elegant lightish touch [from the accompanying guitarists complemented by her own pianism and an uncommon softness from the rhythmists too] helps to throw Miss Vieira’s heavier hand and more formidable lyrical utterances into high relief. Songs such as Tudo De Mim, Jacaranda and Mother Mary, as well as on Miss Rodrigues’ own Trago Fado Nos Sentidos, are the finest examples of Miss Vieira’s mastery of this form with the music’s intent fully internalised and translated into a larger sound envelope. Vibrant in response yet scrupulous in tonal blending, the instrumentalists are [also] wholly committed to her cause. All of this makes for a fine album indeed.

YouTube Playlist – Ramana Vieira: Tudo De Mim

Music – 1: Tudo de Mim; 2: E Pecado; 3: Fado La La La; 4: Mother Mary; 5: Jacaranda; 6: Trago Fado Nos Sentidos; 7: Please Love Me Forever; 8: Lambada; 9: Verdes Anos; 10: Fado La La La.

Musicians – Ramana Vieira: vocals and backing vocals, piano, and synthesizer strings [1, 3 – 5, 7 – 10]; David Parker: co-producer, backing vocals, drums, bass [1 – 3, 5, 8] and keyboards [5]; Jeff Furtado: guitar [1 – 3, 5, 8], guitarra and lead vocals [8]; Earl Jackson: drums and percussion [1 – 3, 8]; José Luis Iglesiais: guitarra [6]; John Clark: bass [6].

Released – 2023
Label – Independent
Runtime – 40:54

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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