Amalia Rodrigues | Legendary Portugal Fado Singer

Our friend Carlos Evaristo had known Amalia Rodrigues during her life time. He’s recently written about her and the memories shared during their time together.

Amália Rebordão Rodrigues GCSE, GCIH (23 July 1920 – 6 October 1999), better known as Amália Rodrigues (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈmaliɐ ʁuˈðɾiɣɨʃ]) or popularly as Amália, was a Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and actress. Known as the ‘Rainha do Fado’ (“Queen of Fado”), Rodrigues was instrumental in popularising fado worldwide and travelled internationally throughout her career.

She became one of the most important figures during the genre’s revival in the twentieth century and was a leading female fadista during her 50-year recording and stage career. Rodrigues remains an iconic figure and inspiration to other fado and popular music artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes, Mariza and Cristina Branco. As of 1999, she had sold over 30 million records worldwide. Amália remains the best-selling Portuguese artist in history

I was so moved to have been asked to give a long interview on my memories of Amália Rodrigues for a special documentary on the 100th Anniversary of her birth and to do it in the living room of her home where so many times we sat with the Queen of Fado and enjoyed a happy evening of music and laughter.

Everything is as it was but how strange that the house seems so empty and silent. Lifeless without Amália, her husband César, her Secretary Lili, her Seamstress Ilda and her guitarists and friends…


I could not resist asking permission to go behind the glass barrier of Amália’s bedroom to hold again an image of Our Lady of the Rose that I gave her for her birthday decades ago and which she had told me that she kept on her night table next to her bed.

I also found the various other gifts we had given her over the years hanging on the walls and on tabes including photos I had taken of her in Fatima which she had framed.

Even a sculpture I made for her in 1984 and presented on stage in 1989 at Roy Thompson Hall in Toronto still exists and is on display in the centre of a case with many other plaques and trophies that were given her.

Momentos of a long and lasting friendship that for me began at the age of 15.

Happy Birthday D, Amália!