Life is fado

Ana Moura
at the Philharmonie Berlin

Ana Moura
(Photo: Gonçalo Afonso)

Ana Moura, guest of our Welcome Back Week on 23 August, brings Portuguese flair to the Philharmonie Berlin. The singer is internationally known as the “Queen of Fado”, one of the best performers of this traditional Portuguese singing style which gave the country its very own musical expression.

World-weariness made music

Grief, jealousy, loss – it is the dark, melancholy, painful feelings that give fado its unmistakable charm. Originating in the poor districts of Lisbon in the 19th century, fado, which derives from the Latin word “fatum” (fate), sings about the darker side of the human condition. As a product of urban life, the lyrics deal with everyday hardships of the ordinary, urban people, with loss, farewell and lost or unfulfilled happiness in love.


Concert as part of the Welcome Back Week on 23 August 2021

Join Ana Moura on 23 August 2021, from 20:00, on her fascinating journey through the abysses of the Portuguese soul.


Buy tickets

Fado quickly became socially acceptable and also found its way into bourgeois salons. Later, the dictatorial military government that ruled the country from the early 1930s until 1974 misused the musical style for its own purposes. Long since rehabilitated, fado has been on UNESCO’s Intangible World Cultural Heritage list since 2011.

Admired by the Rolling Stones and Prince

“Fado must be felt, not understood or explained,” said Amália Rodrigues, one of the great fadistas of the 20th century and Ana Moura’s idol. Thanks to her dark, slightly smoky voice, Moura is one of the stars of today’s fado scene. Born into a family where singing was very popular, she was already a singer in various pop bands when she was still at school. At a Christmas party where she was performing fados, she was discovered by a well-known fadista and was immediately hired for her fado venue. Ana Moura had found her calling.


Ana Moura - Arraial Triste (Live)

A national institution re-imagined

An appearance on Portuguese television in 2005 made her famous throughout the country. Two years later, she impressed the Rolling Stones so much that they invited her to appear as a guest at their Lisbon concert as well as to studio productions. She also performed with Prince in 2009. Ana Moura’s great success is based above all on the fact that while she continues the tradition of fado, she also expands its boundaries and sets new trends – for example, by adding keyboard and drums to the traditional guitar accompaniment and mixing her songs with jazz and pop elements.

The result is that expressive, melancholic and emotional, yet life-affirming sound that is Ana Moura's style. You can feel the passion for fado in every note she sings “I sing because that’s what my life is,” she says, “but I always do it in dialogue with the people who are listening to me”.