2003. Canto

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Eduardo Prado Coelho,

"Only those capable of hearing the voice emerging from the throats worn by flame, only those capable of following the nocturnal pace of an unusually intelligent enunciation - in recognizing the verbal textures and the consumed emotions that gather within - may come to understand that sharpest pain hardly ever derives from open wounds. Mísia relates to Fado in a way that reaches the 'mystical' - and it is almost scaring." [+]


Canto (2003)

Album Information

Making a work inspired by the music of Carlos Paredes used to be a project stored in my "gallery of the unattainable". In there I store albums inspired by the paintings of Marc Rothko, partnered by the sculptural excesses of Louise Bourgeois, escaped from the photographs of Francesca Woodman or constrained by the guilt of Peter Handke. Without forgetting Arsenii Tarkovskii and other poets who are difficult to sing, or perhaps not..."should not a needle, air-borne and alive, guide me through the world like a thread".

It would have been wiser to continue my marvellous and neurotic relationship with Fado. But lacking common sense I ended up making this record, obsessed by rage and tenderness, in seven months. On one hand there was the creative genius of Paredes' work, and on the other the responsibility and the resilience of the material.

It was important to listen carefully to the needs of the CD, what it was asking for: to choose the repertoire following a line of song that I could only hear instinctively inside myself; to find those people who had the necessary sensitivity and talent to shape the verses inside the music - unpredictable because they are irregular - meant finding an arranger and musical producer who understood both the erudite and popular character of this work; the Portuguese side and the universal dimension, without damaging its contemporary character and its authenticity; to challenge my guitarists from Lisbon Fado to play a musical language that was not their own; to sing this new material without forcing them to become fado songs, but never to negate the "fadista soul" which will always be in my voice. If Fados are "a way of feeling" and a 'state of mind' this is without doubt a record of Fados although the melodies are not.

I always knew that a new 'corpus' would be born from the meeting of all these creative qualities. It was never my intention to attempt to duplicate the sound that belongs only to Paredes and of which he and absolutely no one else will always hold the secret.

"Canto" is a gift.

It is only now, with nearly twenty-five years of "stages and wandering" that I am ready to give peacefully and without anxiety.

I'd like to thank everybody that helped me make this record. I owe a special debt to Vasco Graça Moura, author of most of the poems; for writing for the first time for a particular voice, making use of his poetic talent and knowledge, and his very rare understanding of the needs of metre and writing poetry for such a work. He was able to display an elegant faithfulness to Paredes' intentions, whether by respecting the history of a musical theme (Antonio the Sailor - Omen of Alfama) or by including references in his poems to the titles of the music (Song for Titi - My kind Aunt). Finally, for writing with such liberating beauty that I feel I have grown as a human being while singing his words from a place deep inside me that I didn't know existed. To Sérgio Godinho (author of the first fado specially written for me, thirteen years ago) for the unsurpassed perception and quality of his text for Raíz and for the affection that motivated him. Thank you Sérgio. And to be able to sing a "classic" like Green Years by Pedro Tamen, is in itself, a reason for thanking the author. Thanks also to Henri Agnel, a musician specializing in Arab and Renaissance music, who has appeared in the same tour programmes in France with Paredes and knows his music for thirty years, for the emotion and richness of the musical arrangements. We can hear the rhythm of the Nubian "baladi" dance from the south of Egypt in the Song for Titi, the Persian rhythm "of the mother" or "of the beating of the heart" in the beginning of Raíz followed by a Renaissance dance. Using mediaeval tuning, the lute of the Elizabethan court (the forerunner of the Portuguese guitar according to some), pulses through the improvisation of Ah no 11. The sophisticated sounds of the quintet of the Camarata of Bourgogne blend perfectly with our fado guitar and viola from Lisbon.

This "Canto" of mine is for Carlos Paredes and in it is the best that I could find to offer him. I would never know if "the musician" would have liked this record but I would like to believe that his generous heart will, one day in Time, feel the affection and admiration with which this work was conceived, experienced and recorded.



Canto is an unheard novelty because it was inspired by the instrumental music of the composer and guitarist Carlos Paredes. The result is an encounter of unlike artistic languages. The poetry is by Vasco Graça Moura, Sérgio Godinho and Pedro Tamen. Mísia's usual Fado guitarists and her Portuguese violinist are joined by a quintet of musicians from the Camerata de Bourgogne under producer and arranger Henri Agnel.

Télérama FFF, France & Award of the German Record Critics, Germany.


Timing: 47'03

01. Presságios De Alfama (4'32)
02. Sem Saber (3'20)
03. Lamento Das Rosas Bravas (3'30)
04. Tia Minha Gentil (4'24)
05. Ah Não (3'21)
06. Canção De Alcipe (3'09)
07. Nenhum Sonho Se Entrega A Chegada (3'36)
08. Horas De Breu (3'52)
09. Valsa Das Sombras (4'09)
10. Verdes Anos (3'55)
11. Tim Tim Por Tim Tim (2'56)
12. Ah Não II (3'30)
13. Balada De Coimbra (3'15)

Audio excerpts

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© CB Aragão