When Gisela João released her debut album in 2013, it set in motion a rapid rise to the upper echelons of Portuguese music. Her voice, deep, passionate, strong yet touched with a sensitive vulnerability, found instant resonance with public and critics alike.
The sparse instrumental accompaniment – no strings, percussion or overblown arrangements – signalled a return to fado’s roots but in the service of facing the world of today. She even dares to sing a classic Amália Rodrigues song with lyrics updated by Capicua, a rapper from Porto. A moderniser then, but making the statement that fado’s soul lies in its raw nature and that the emotions it articulates are universal.
It is said that ‘a fadista must be born one and not merely wish to be one’. Gisela João is indisputably a natural-born fadista.
Gisela João - vocals
Bernardo Couto - Portuguese guitar
Aleixo Fado - viola
Francisco Gaspar - acoustic bass