There is no other voice in Fado quite like Ana Moura. A voice that strolls freely through tradition but flirts elegantly with pop music, broadening the spectrum of Fado, so typical of Lisbon, in a very personal way. But what sets her apart is not only the low-pitched and sensual tone, so unique – Ana Moura instantaneously transforms any melody to which she lends her voice, into Fado. It’s an immediate spark, an emotional explosion aimed ruthlessly to the listener’s heart.
Fausto, José Afonso, Ruy Mingas, music from Angola and Fado. Those where the melodies that were sung in the evenings of the Moura family, in Coruche, when Ana Moura was but a little girl – she was born in another city of Ribatejo province, Santarém, in 1979 – and yet already very fond of music. Both parents sung, all her family on her mother’s side sung and any family meeting would end with a singing match. Though they sung a bit of everything, Ana started feeling that, for some reason, she had a special fondness for Fado. At aged six she would sing her first Fado, “Cavalo Ruço” and hear her mother humming “O Xaile da Minha Mãe”. When she became a teenager, Fado was left aside and she became interested in other genres more in line with her age and the preferences of her friends from high school.
It is with that curiosity for other types of music, in those teenage years – a time of discovery and rebellion – that Ana Moura arrived in Carcavelos, in the outskirts of Lisbon, aged 14, to finish high school. She came not to sing but to study, enrolling in Academia dos Amadores de Música. Here she formed her first band with some school friends. Although she would sing other genres, Ana’s voice rapidly gains a natural Fado tone to it and so, even with a rock band, she managed to include a Fado or two in her repertoire – usually “Povo que Lavas no Rio” by Amália, who was by then her main influence as a singer.
Her experience with the cover band, Sexto Sentido, ended up leading to the production of a pop/rock album with musician Luís Oliveira by a Universal label. But the album was never finished. Destiny then played a role, taking Ana Moura to a bar in Carcavelos where she let herself go and sang a Fado. In the audience was guitar player António Parreira who, quite impressed, took her by the hand and introduced her to several Fado houses. Then, at a Christmas party for musicians and Fado singers, Ana Moura met the very people who would populate her nights from then on, and she is invited to sing. This time, it is Maria da Fé, co-owner of the prestigious Fado house Senhor Vinho, that is taken by her raw talent. Besides cheering her, Maria da Fé also invited her to sing at her Fado house.