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(Published: October 16, 2015)

Internationally Acclaimed Vocalist and Composer Supporting Release with Shows in Northern California and Oregon in October and November

Described by the San Francisco Examiner as a "rising star in world music" and by the Boston Globe as deserving "a prominent place in the front rank of today's Fado singers," Ramana Vieira is set to release her third album, Fado da Vida (Fate of Life), on October 16. She will support the release with a six-week long series of performances in northern California and Oregon, including a CD release concert in the SF Bay area.

On Fado da Vida, Vieira continues to infuse the centuries-old style of fado - the most widely recognized music of Portugal - with a uniquely modern sensibility. Recognized by the New York Times as an American at the forefront of a fado resurgence that is seeing Portuguese singers such as Ana Moura and Mariza selling out concert halls in the US, Vieira expands fado's basic configuration of 12 string guitar and vocals into performances that include cello, violin, bass, accordion and drums. "Nobody else is doing what we are doing with fado," says Vieira.

Fado da Vida features ten tracks that combine fado classics by Amadeu da Vale and Amália Rodrigues (known as the Rainha do Fado, or "Queen of Fado," Rodrigues helped popularize the style worldwide in the middle of the last century) with original compositions written by Vieira, either solo or with the Portugal-born and Canadian-based poet Euclides Cavaco. Among those written with Cavaco is the album's title track, which Vieira says is about "the passion of life, living, loving, struggle, challenge, loss...the path on which life takes you and the trials, the tribulations, the beauty and the pain, the gains and the losses."

The album opens with "Cabo Verde," which was nominated as Best World Music Song at the 2015 International Portuguese Music Awards. "'Cabo Verde' is about the beautiful Cape Verdean islands off the coast of Africa," says Vieira. "I drew a lot of inspiration from Cesaria Evora. I wanted to capture the very soulful music that she performed, the morna, with lyrics usually in Cape Verdean Creole, and instrumentation often including cavaquinho, clarinet, accordion, violin, piano and guitar." Another track on Fado da Vida, "Nem As Paredes Confesso," which translates to "not even to the walls do I confess my love to you," was made popular by legendary fadista Amália Rodrigues, and was nominated as Best Fado Song at the 2015 International Portuguese Music Awards.

Vieira pays tribute again to Rodrigues - who she call her "most favorite" - with Amadeu do Vale's lovely piece, "Ai Mouraria," performed here with a strikingly unique twist. "We decided to do an acapella version of this classic, and then added Elzbieta Polak's haunting, magical violin," explains Vieira. Polak is one of eleven musicians who join Vieira on Fado da Vida, each of who contributes his or her unique multi-cultural musical perspective to the larger whole of the album: mandolinist Patrick Fahey, cellist Gretchen Lehonten Hopkins, upright bassist John Clark, Beau Blesdoe on guitarra, Benito Cortez on violin, Steve Albini on accordion, drummer Ayinde Webb, Tomas Saldeco on guitar, percussionist Dave Eagle, and bassist Alberto Ramirez. Vieira herself plays acoustic piano and keyboards.

As serious and heartfelt as fado can be, Vieira also brings a lighthearted touch to her modern interpreting of the genre, as she proves on her composition "A Fadista," which takes a very tongue-in-cheek approach - in English, no less - to the business of being a fadista. "It's all in fun," she says. That sense of fun also permeates the traditional tune "Bailinho da Madeira," a tribute to Madeira, the island in Portugal where her parents were born, and "Fado Acoriano", a beautiful and inspiring tribute to the Azores a chain of nine islands off the coast of Portugal with a carefree melody with lyrics by Euclides Calvaco, and composed by Vieira, Gretchen Lehonten Hopkins and Tomas Salcedo.

A video for the album's title track has just been filmed, directed by Helder Pedro, a young, upcoming Portuguese American film maker. The major themes of "Fado da Vida" are the beauties and struggles of life. The music video features a woman who reminisces about the good times in her life but is also reminded of the tragedy that befell her years before. Her nostalgia is bitter-sweet as she sings the "Fado da Vida." To learn more about Helder Pedro, whose short film, The Someone, recently won the award for "Outstanding Visual/Special Effects" at the Scary Cow Film Festival in San Francisco, visit www.thehelder.com

Vieira will celebrate the release of Fado da Vida with a CD release show on October 17 at the Castro Valley Moose Lodge. In November, she will perform at the Walnut Creek Library (11/7), and later in the month at a series of shows in Oregon: on November 27 in Eugene at The Jazz Station; on November 28 at Wineup Williams, and on November 29 at Vie de Boheme, both in Portland. She'll be accompanied by her touring band, all of who appear on Fado da Vida: Elzbieta Polak, Patrick Fahey, and Alberto Ramirez, with Steve Nelson on drums.


Ramana Vieira has been described by Mundo Portugues newspaper as the "New Voice of Portuguese World Music." She has headlined the world's largest Portuguese festival, the New Bedford Portuguese Feast in Massachusetts, and performed at the 2010 Encontro Festival in Macau. One of her original songs, "Unido Para Amar," was played during the 2006 Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Vieira was also chosen to sing for the 50th Grammy Awards special MusiCares benefit honoring Aretha Franklin, and was invited by United States Congressman Jim Costa to perform for the president of the Azores, alongside the internationally acclaimed guitarrista and artist Chico Avila.

The most widely recognized music of Portugal, fado is a passionate, soul-stirring music with soaring vocals and dramatic tales of love, loss and redemption. Legendary fadista Amália Rodrigues popularized fado in the 20th century, and it is once again enjoying considerable popularity today, thanks to platinum-selling Portuguese singers such as Ana Moura and Mariza. The New York Times has recognized Vieira as an American artist at the forefront of the fado resurgence. Traditionally, fado was music for voice and the guitarra Portuguesa, a 12-string guitar derived from a type of African lute. But as Larry Rohter of The New York Times has noted, "Conservatory-trained singer Ramana Vieira adds a New Age sensibility and instrumentation to the music with cello and drums."

Vieira's personal relationship to fado music lies deep in her family history. Her grandfather was a well-known musician and composer from Madeira Island, Portugal. She was born in San Leandro, California, to Portuguese immigrant parents, and was exposed to the voices of Portugal's past at a young age. "During my childhood, I sang with my mother to Amália Rodgrigues and other fabulous fadistas that were part of her special record collection," she remembers.

Although Veira had dreams of a Broadway career, her direction shifted abruptly when a famous music producer inspired her to embrace her Portuguese roots. Shortly thereafter, she found herself on an unexpected journey to Portugal where she had the opportunity to perform with local fado singers and musicians, bringing audiences to their feet with her authentic, yet individual style. "It was there I discovered that there was nothing in the world more gratifying to me than singing fado."

Her first recording was an EP, Sem Ti (Without You), released in 2000. In 2004 she released Despi A Alma (Stripping the Soul), followed in 2009 by Lagrimas De Rainha (Tears of a Queen.) In its review of that album, Blogcritics.org stated, "...Vieira never neglects the genre's origins. To visit Portugal without leaving home, pick up Vieira's new album and be transported." Allmusic.com noted that "she is well aware of fado's rich history, although the expressive singer obviously isn't afraid to carve out an appealing identity of her own. And that willingness to take chances serves Vieira well."

More Information: http://www.ramanavieira.net

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