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Amalia Rodrigues


What Edith Piaf is to France or Oum Koultoum is to Egypt, Amalia Rodrigues is to Portugal. A black-clad, dark-haired diva, Rodrigues typified for the world Portugal's Fado -- or "fate" -- a native folk music that combines the melancholy of the American blues with a vocalized sense of deep and inexhaustible yearning. Rodrigues expressed Fado's themes with a precision unmatched during her more than fifty-year career. She was known and loved primarily for her voice -- gravelly, passionate, and thrilling in its scale and emotion. Technically accomplished as well as incomparably phrased, Rodrigues' voice could topple a mountain on its own volition, or call all the merchant ships and their lonely men back to port.
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