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June 2024 #29 - Top 40 for Latin American Influence Povo Que Lavas No Rio (track)
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About: Shawl in Doorway
About: Leaning in the doorwary
About: IPMA nomination 2016
Ramana 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. "Ramana's roots lie in her family's musical heritage, with her grandfather being a well-known composer in Madeira, Portugal, and her mother a fadista.

Ramana Vieira has been described by Mundo Português newspaper as the “New Voice of Portuguese World Music.” 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, Ms. Vieira has currently been nominated in the 2016 Fado Performance Artist category for the International Portuguese Music Awards (IPMA), held in New Bedford, Mass. Vieira was the first inaugural Fado Educator at several musical educational settings, including most recently JazzCampWest in La Honda, CA.

She is a gifted songwriter/composer and has created a Fado Fusion sound that is a blend of the classic fado with a more contemporary sound to expose and broaden new audiences in her quest to introduce fado to today's music listeners.

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. She has toured through the Hawaiian Islands, Asia, Europe, and the East Coast.

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 Rodrigues and other fabulous fadistas that were part of her special record collection,” she remembers.

Although Vieira 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 Lágrimas 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.” Her release "Fado da Vida" gained three international nominations with the International Portuguese Music Awards and rave reviews.

"Conservatory-trained singer Ramana Vieira and her group bring a new-age sensibility to the fado."—Larry Rohter, The New York Times

"No one is doing more to breathe new life into fado than Ramana Vieira."—Andrew Gilbert, The Boston Globe
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