Ana Moura has continued her rise as one of the most popular contemporary fado singers since the day she caught the ear of famous fado singer Maria da Fé, who later hired her to perform at the famous Senhor Vinho fado house in Lisbon.
Moura quickly climbed her way up the ladder of fame, especially after she launched her debut album, “Guarda-me a Vida Na Mão,” in 2003. “Sou do fado, sou fadista,” one of the songs on the album, became an instant classic. In 2004, Moura released her sophomore effort, “Aconteceu,” and later that year she became the first Portuguese artist to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall.
After a brilliant series of concerts around the world and a live onstage appearance with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger, Moura was named the Best Performer of the Year in her own country by the Amália Rodrigues Foundation in 2007, which secured her title as one of the most brilliant fado performers in Portugal. Sales of her latest album, “Leva-me aos Fados,” have gone platinum.
The famous singer performed for a Turkish audience on Tuesday night at the İstanbul Archaeological Museum on the occasion of the 40th İstanbul International Music Festival.
Ahead of the concert, Moura spoke with Today’s Zaman about her songs and career.
You are working on a new album with four-time Grammy Award-winning producer Larry Klein, who is best known for his work on Joni Mitchell’s albums. So what can we expect from your new album?
I’ll have a new album out by the end of the year produced by this great producer. I’ll have some surprises, but I can’t tell you anything yet. What I can tell you is that I am very happy with the recording sessions we did last month in Los Angeles. Working with Larry Klein has been a wonderful experience so far.
Your latest album, “Leva-me aos Fados,” not only went platinum but also entered the Billboard charts and made it to number two in Amazon’s UK sales. So what’s the secret behind this album achieving so much international success?
I think you should ask the audience. When I am recording, I never think about that. I just try always to give my best to make a beautiful album. The success of a record always depends on the reaction of the audience to the music, so the fans are the ones responsible for the success of “Leva-me aos Fados.”
You represent Portuguese culture with your traditional fados, but do you listen to other types of music, like pop, other than fado?
I listen to many different styles -- pop, jazz, rock and soul music. I also like to know more about the local music of the countries I am performing in. Usually I don’t look for styles of music but for artists with characteristics that I admire such as [depth], soul and different colors of voice.
Fados are generally very melancholic but which song makes you most melancholic on stage?
It depends on my mood but usually one of the songs that makes me feel melancholic is “Aconteceu,” from my second record.
Your performances with the Frankfurt Radio Big Band combine jazz and fado. Do you love jazz and if so, which inspires you most?
As I told you before, I try to listen to all kinds of music. Jazz is one of them, but I prefer to talk about artists that I admire no matter the type of music they do. Jazz is the same thing, and I love artists from all styles of jazz.
You also performed your jazz and fado fusion in your home country of Portugal. How was the reaction to your experimental approach?
It was great! The audience loved it and respected the different approaches that we gave to the arrangements of my fados.
You are going to perform at the İstanbul Music Festival on Tuesday night. What will your repertoire for the audience be in İstanbul?
My repertoire will be based on “Leva-me aos Fados,” my last record and, of course, also the most significant songs of my career.
You have been to İstanbul before; what do you remember most about İstanbul?
İstanbul is a mythical city. If you want to understand the history of modern civilizations, you have to go to İstanbul. Also, another thing that I enjoy in İstanbul is seeing how vibrant and cosmopolitan the city is right now.