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Portuguese maverick fadista Claudia Aurora returns to London, with her new album, Mulher do Norte (Woman of the North) – a homage to her city Porto, her heritage and the way of living that made her the woman she is today.
It was 2003 when Aurora swapped her beloved Porto for Bristol. Little did she know that what she began singing in the kitchen as an antidote to homesickness would take her to some of the biggest stages in the world.
She sung fado. Traditional Portuguese folk songs once sung by her grandmother. In time, she wrote her own. Impassioned songs of loss, love, longing. In short, songs of saudade, the emotion at the very core of fado, perhaps best translated as ‘the love that remains after something is gone’. A lover. A comrade. A place.
‘People don’t understand what I’m singing,’ says Claudia, ‘so I try to make them feel what I want them to feel. Onstage, my heart is in my mouth, and I think maybe people will see it beating.’
If people didn’t see Claudia’s heart, they certainly heard it. With her first album only a few months old, she was a relative unknown before she played the BBC Radio 3 stage at WOMAD in 2012, yet the reaction to her set ensured Silencio’s sales were seventh highest of the entire festival. Impressed, Radio 3 later broadcast Claudia performing live from the Royal Festival Hall. Further broadcasts followed.
Claudia has since made London her base, but when it came to recording the new album, Claudia took her team of crack musicians back to the mother country, and the tranquility of Alentejo. Guitars, double bass, cello, bouzouki, accordion, all combining to create fado as it has never been heard before. Fado with arms open wide, embracing those other grand old traditions of the Iberian Peninsula: flamenco, tango, gypsy.
‘Drenched in emotion and drama’ Lucy Duran, BBC Radio 3
‘Haunting Portuguese fado… heartbreakingly poignant’ Time Out
‘Spine–tingling’ Alex Denney, NME