One of the most active voices in the fado music scene in Lisbon since the 1960s, she was born in the Castelo neighbourhood. Its origins reveal a close connection to the very origins of the city of Lisbon, and in particular to the neighbourhood that would come to demand the motivation for the chosen artistic surname – Castro, synonymous with the castle.
Several fados were forever immortalized by their interpretation of which stand out, “Rosa Caída”, “Cigano“, “Gosto de tudo o que é teu” and the great success in the magazine, “Na Hora da Despedida“.
That was why a group of friends got together, understanding that 60 years of career could not be forgotten and started to prepare a party to commemorate this anniversary. A party made with the participation of many friends collected throughout his long career.
The party will be presented by Júlio Isidro, Hélder Costa, Maria João Abreu and José Carlos Malato and will be attended by some fellow fado singers who insist on being present associating themselves with his party, they are:
António Passão, António Rocha, Augusto Ramos, Chico Madureira, Cidália Moreira, Filipe Duarte, Florinda Maria, Hélder Moutinho, Helena Favila, João Casanova, Jorge Morgado, Maria da Nazaré, Marta Pinto, Odete Jorge, Rão Kyao, Ricardo Ribeiro and Rodrigo,
Accompanying them will be the musicians:
Luís Ribeiro, Jaime Martins, Luís N’Gambi, Arménio Melo, Jaime Santos, José Elmiro,
Múcio Sá, Pedro Morato and Miguel Gelpi
The Party will take place at the Maria Victoria Theater (kindly provided by Hélder Costa) on March 31 at 9 pm.
Ticket office profits accrue to Associação CASA – Homeless Support Center
Ada de Castro
Ada’s youth was inextricably linked to the cultural spheres of Lisbon, having attended theatre and magazine theatre matinees from an early age. From a very young age, his talent and a special taste for music were noticed. At the age of 17, he joined the Juventude Operária Católica (JOC), establishing here a close contact with theatre, magazine theatre and fado.
Fado singer Hermínia Silva was her first reference, and both the informal contexts of the JOC and the popular parties in her neighbourhood gave her space to develop her interest in fado. Quickly caught the attention of the
the audience, especially through his interpretations of repertoires of the prestigious Herminia, which he imitated so well.
Ada de Castro’s first performance in a fado restaurant took place at Solar da Hermínia, in Bairro Alto. It was there that, for the first time, by the hand of her future godmother, Hermínia Silva, she was placed in a shawl that symbolically marked her recognition as a fado singer.
At the end of 1959, already accustomed to the amateur stages, Ada was invited by the announcer Julieta Fernandes to participate in a contest of Rádio Graça, which resulted in a contract to sing at the restaurant Nau Catrineta, in the district of Graça. One month later, she would obtain the necessary letter to apply for a license with the National Information Secretariat (SNI) and acquire your professional card.
After obtaining the license to sing fado, Ada was invited to the cast of the restaurant O Faia, in Bairro Alto, making her professional debut as a fado singer at the age of 23, in March 1960.
Shortly afterwards, Alfredo Marceneiro would give her the precious suggestion that would lead her to record the first fado in her repertoire, with the poem “Rosa Caída”, in the music of “fado tango”.
After a year of work at O Faia, Ada finally won the right to her professional license. It was at that moment, officially recognized as a fado singer, that she decided to go to the National Emissora to perform tests, a desirable stage for artists who, like the young Ada, aspired to gain public recognition.
Performing a test much appreciated by the jury, she did not have to go through the Radio Artists Preparation Center and was immediately invited to work on the prestigious Serões para Trabalhadores program. The passage through the Emissora Nacional at the beginning of his career would have been fundamental for the success quickly achieved, boosting his rapid national recognition. After singing for the first time in the Serões para Trabalhadores program, Ada de Castro was contacted by the director of the restaurant Folclore, who, after listening to her through the National Broadcaster, chose her to join her cast.
At Folclore Ada, he would work for 14 years, and get to know some of the most exquisite places frequented by Portuguese elites and their guests, opening doors to a set of privileged circuits as a fado singer, in contexts administered mainly by SNI. Ada de Castro was thus the protagonist of a fado circuit associated with elitist contexts, which included the Spring Market, the Alfama à Noite tourist itinerary, or the special exhibitions at Varanda do Chancellor and Varandinha.
Throughout his career, he would pass by other restaurants renowned fado, such as A Toca, Adega Machado, Senhor Vinho, A Severa, among others. In 1966 he also enjoyed a brief visit to the magazine theatre, at Teatro Maria Vitória, as part of the play Tudo à Mostra, where he celebrated the song “Na Hora da Despedida”. Ada de Castro performed countless performances outside Portugal, influencing people in different countries and continents, both in live shows, in television and radio programs.
Under the scope of Folklore, he performed in several national and international concert halls, highlighting the frequent trips to Portuguese communities, as well as important representations of Portugal abroad, such as his stay in Denmark, where he stayed for 45 days, or the trip to Monaco, where in 1968 he sang for the royal family in the gardens of the Grimaldi Palace.
Also noteworthy are his trips to Brazil (where he toured for more than 5 months), among several other countries, such as Spain, Australia, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Japan, China, France, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, States United States, Canada, Macau, Hong Kong and the countries of the former Portuguese colonies in Africa.
His first album was recorded at Emissora Nacional in 1961 and since then he has recorded more than 560 fados and marches, for publishers such as Alvorada, Valentim de Carvalho, Philips, Studio, Movieplay, Polydor, Orpheu and Ovação. In 1977 she was chosen by the publisher Melodia / Alvorada to represent Portugal in the acclaimed event to celebrate the centenary of sound recording.
Throughout her prestigious career, Ada de Castro won several national awards, conceived mainly by the media: the Bronze Disc and two Golden Elephants as early as 1961, one year after the beginning of her career, the Oscar for Best Fadista of the Fortnight in 1962 and the Silver Microphone and the Silver Plate in 1963.
In the years that followed, other awards were distinguished, such as the Press Award and Best Fadista of the Year in 1966, the Gold Microphone in 1967, the Best Fadista of the Year in 1982, the Best Portuguese Fado singer in 1987, and, later, the important Prémio Carreira, in 2010, granted by the Amália Rodrigues Foundation and the Gold Medal of the city of Lisbon, in 2013. Also worthy of mention are several international recognition awards, such as the Penco / Record Award from the United States of America, in the years 1964, 1970 and 1982, the Radio Toronto Award in 1973/74, and Best Portuguese Fadista, awarded in Holland in 1987.
In 2018 Ada de Castro was publicly recognized once again in her hometown, at the 2nd Fado Gala of A Voz do Operário, where she was awarded the Lisbon Prize. Today he no longer sings professionally but keeps his taste of singing fado alive and continues to infect his veiled voice with those who, luckily, occasionally have the privilege of listening to it.
Ada de Castro’s long professional career today fills parts integral to the historiography of fado over two centuries, this year celebrating six decades that materialize in conversations, portraits, prizes, records and other varied expressive details, from memories of an extensive and recognized career of fado.