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Schimmel Center Presents Gisela João, Bold New Fado from Portugal;

NYC Debut Concert on Saturday, February 25th is Centerpiece of NY Fado Festival;

Chart-Topping Fado Singer Debuts New CD "Nua" (Nude)

Portuguese fado singer Gisela João has been generating white-hot press for her uncompromising approach to this most traditional music. Her voice evokes fado as a music of the streets, where it began, infused with all the ardor, passion and honesty of an artist rewriting tradition in her own name. Gisela João will make her New York City debut at the Schimmel Center at Pace University on Saturday, February 25 at 7:30pm as part of the first NY Fado Festival.

Singer Gisela João's second CD, Nua extends her trailblazing approach to fado-Portugal's most emblematic music-with a fresh and spirited rejoinder to knee-jerk traditionalism combined with a bold vision of fado's future.

Gisela João's first, self-titled CD (released in 2013), brought rapturous praise from the Portuguese and European press and within two weeks of release went straight to the top of the Portuguese charts. Her subsequent live appearances-one part ingénue, one part rebel-rattled contemporary sensibilities but also firmly established her as a unique and uncompromising voice. Where other singers communicate the fado's strong sentiments solely through their voices, Gisela João's fado is a full-body experience: onstage, she jumps, she gestures, she emotes. Offstage, her interviews are similarly wide-ranging and expansive. She moves swiftly from discussing fado to house music to Nick Cave and Nina Simone, asserting boldly that "all genres of music end up influencing all others because music thrives upon life itself."

The arc of her meteoric rise has been anything but conventional. She was born in 1983, in the northern Portuguese city of Barcelos, rather than in Lisbon, the cradle of fado. Her career began when she secured her first contract by sending a portfolio of videos to Portugal's major labels, signing soon after with the Valentim de Carvalho label (the Blue Note Records of fado). Both Gisela João and Nua were recorded not in sterile studios, but in Old World palaces located in and around Lisbon, the equipment trucked in and the interiors left untouched. Her video catalog-its existence a genuine rarity for a fado artist-embraces a bold, even iconoclastic visual style, expressed perhaps most powerfully in the video for "Labirinto ou não foi nada," featuring not Gisela João but a transvestite artist in scenes of backstage and subterranean intrigue.

With the release of Nua (Naked) she has plunged deeply into the most sacred territory of the fado canon-the repertory of the late Amália Rodrigues, undoubtedly the music's foremost exponent. In so doing, she stands an excellent chance of helping to redefine contemporary notions of the fado.

A fado singer's identity is patent in the lyrics and instrumentation they select and perform. And while Gisela João embraces some of the best-known works in fado's history, including not only those associated with Amália but also with Maria Teresa de Noronha and others, her most potent alchemy is the future. One song on Nua, "Noite de São João" (Night of Saint John), shares its name and music with an old fado, but the lyrics-written for the album by the female rapper Capicua-recount a tale of late-night romance with a very bad boy. João dismisses any criticism that this lyric is somehow beneath the fado. She asserts, quite rightly, that fado was once a music of people living at the margins of society: rogues, ne'er-do-wells, seafarers. As she says, "I like traditional fado, pure and raw."

Nua steadfastly refuses to resolve the paradox of tradition and innovation, offering strikingly pure yet emotionally supercharged music. With few exceptions, the selections sit firmly within the fado repertory. Some are refined, even inspired, such as "Um fado para este noite" (A Fado for Tonight) and "Naquela noite em Janeiro" (On That Night in January), associated respectively with the towering figures of Beatriz da Conceição and Argentina Santos. Others, such as the landmark "Labirinto ou não foi nada" (Labyrinth, or It Was Nothing), burst with wild musical invention, tightly controlled and masterfully directed. Perhaps the most controversial tracks are interpretations of two classics by the Brazilian singer Cartola, "O mundo é um moínho" (The World is a Windmill) and "As rosas não falam" (The Roses Don't Speak). Together with her version of the Mexican folk standard "Llorona" (The Wailing Woman), what sets these tracks apart from mere covers is the complete dedication of the singer and her musicians to moving them within the fado's sphere. The result brings Gisela João's music full circle, expanding the scope of our conception of fado, without sacrificing or betraying its more than 200-year tradition.

Gisela João will be accompanied by Ricardo Parreira on the 12-string Portuguese guitar, Nelson Aleixo on the classical guitar, and Francisco Gaspar on the acoustic bass guitar. A pre-show talk on fado and a special exhibit from the Museu do Fado in Lisbon are included in the February 25th program.

VIDEO : "Meu Amigo Está Longe"

VIDEO : "Labarinto ou Não Foi Nada"

"Amália Rodrigues was the great fadista of the 20th century… I know and I feel, with equal force, that Gisela João is the great fadista of the 21st century." - Miguel Esteves Cardoso, Público

"…. Raw emotion and a thrilling voice." Gonçalo Frota, Songlines UK

Schimmel Center at Pace University Presents: Gisela João (NY Debut)

The Schimmel Center

Saturday February 25, 2017

3 Spruce Street, Manhattan
6:00pm: Pre-Show Conversation with Fado Scholar Lila Ellen Gray

7:30pm: Acoustic Trio (Portuguese guitar, classical guitar, acoustic bass)

8:00pm: Gisela João

Tickets $29, $39

A fado exhibit from Museu do Fado in Lisbon will be on display in the Schimmel Center lobby

Curated by Isabel Soffer/Live Sounds in Partnership with The Consulates General of Portugal in

New York and Newark

About Schimmel Center

Schimmel Center is located in the heart of Downtown Manhattan at Pace University. At the Schimmel Center, it is our mission to present internationally acclaimed artists in the fields of dance, cabaret, music, comedy, lecture, world music and dance and family programming. We strive to provide affordable tickets allowing all patrons access to the high quality talent in the intimate setting of the Schimmel Center auditorium. Patrons enjoy performances as they've never seen or heard them before. By participating in our programming, you contribute to the rich culture of arts and education that we hold so dear in Downtown Manhattan. For more information, visit .

Twitter : @SchimmelTheatre

Facebook :

Youtube : Schimmel Center

Location :

Schimmel Center is located at 3 Spruce Street in Manhattan; conveniently located near the new Fulton Center and just blocks from One World Trade Center.

Via Subway :

A, C, 2, 3, 4, 5, J, or Z to Fulton Street (William Street Exit)

4, 5, 6 to Brooklyn Bridge (Brooklyn Bridge Exit)

R to City Hall (Broadway Exit)

Via PATH Train :

PATH to World Trade Center stop

Via Bus :

M1, M9, M15, M22, M102, B51 to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Stop

M6 to City Hall/Broadway

For additional information and up-to-the-minute updates, contact the Schimmel Center Box Office at (212) 346-1715

Other NY Fado Festival Events:

Friday, Feb. 24 Newark, NJ

Amália Rodrigues Film: História de uma Cantadeira (Story of a Singer) 1947


Sport Club Português

55 Prospect Street

Newark, NJ 07003


For Ticket and press info contact

Sunday, Feb 26 New York, NY

DJ Ride & Stereossauro


Joe's Pub

425 Lafayette Street

New York, NY 10003

Press Contact: Yuri Kwon

Tickets $15.00

About the NY Fado Festival:

The first annual NY Fado Festival is a celebration of the iconic Portuguese musical tradition that has ancient roots, but is ever moving forward. Known for its mournful and soulful songs loosely captured by the Portuguese word saudade, or "longing" that evoke a bygone era, fado is a thriving symbol of Portugal and reminds us of its past and present.

In 2011, fado was inscribed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List whose aim is to ensure the protection of important cultural heritages worldwide and to promote awareness of their significance. The NY Fado Festival will delight from the traditional to contemporary, always in surprising ways.

The NY Fado Festival is produced byIsabel Soffer/Live Sounds and is supported in part by theConsulates General of Portugal in New York and Newark, theMuseu do Fado in Lisbon, TAP Portugal Airlines and EDP Renewables North America.

The Schimmel Center for the Arts is a founding partner of NY Fado Festival.