Antonio Zambujo is a young musician taking care of an old and distinguished form of Portuguese folk music. Fado, the legendary tradition that evolved in the port cities in the early 19th century, has a place on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage. The expression of fado is beautiful and melancholy, its lyrics filled with saudade – a Portuguese word meaning longing for something that is eternally lost and will never come back.
Antonio Zambujo has contributed strongly to the Fado tradition being discovered outside the borders of Portugal. Born into a musical family in 1975, he learned to play the clarinet as a child and started impressing his environs with precise versions of traditional songs. When he moved to Lisboa at 16, he was soon accepted into the orchestra of the renowned guitarist and composer Mario Pacheco. At the famous venue Club de Fado in the Alfama port area, Antonio gained a reputation for himself as a part of Pacheco’s ensemble.
After a while, Antonio got a role in the musical Amália, a play about the life and times of the Fado legend Amalia Rodrigues. Playing the part of Amalia’s husband, he could develop his musical talent as well as his talent for acting. When after four years he went back to being a musician, he was ready for his first studio release. Now, ten years later, Antonio has four albums under his belt – all of theme are journeys into different local interpretations of the Fado tradition. Touring Europe regularly, he has awoken the love for this sad and beautiful music with a steadily growing public far away from the ports of Lisboa. Antonio Zambujo will perform in Norway for the first time during this years festival!
Text: Kristian Krogh-Sørensen