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Madredeus

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Lisbon, Portugal (1985 – present)

Madredeus is a Portuguese band whose music combines fado influences with modern folk music.

The band’s founding members were Pedro Ayres Magalhães (Classical guitar), Rodrigo Leão (keyboard synthesizer), Francisco Ribeiro (cello) and Teresa Salgueiro (vocals). Magalhães and Leão formed the band in 1985, Ribeiro joined in 1986. They’d been searching for a female singer, and found Teresa Salgueiro in one of Lisbon’s night clubs. Teresa liked their music and agreed to join, so in 1987 Madredeus recorded their first album, Os dias da Madredeus.

The first album was recorded in their rehearsal space, a disused abbey in Lisbon (Convento da Madredeus. The recording was especially strenuous due to deafening interruptions every 5 minutes from Lisbon’s tram service, which ran directly above. In honour of this unavoidable presence in their every performance, they named themselves after the line’s nearby terminus, Madre de Deus (Mother of God), shortened to the vernacular Madredeus.

In 1993, Pedro Ayres Magalhães left the band temporarily and was replaced in live concerts by José Peixoto (Classical guitar). Magalhães rejoined the group later, making it a sextet with two guitarists.

They released several albums and became very popular in Portugal, but remained relatively unknown outside the country. This changed in 1994 when Wim Wenders, impressed by their music, asked Madredeus to perform in his movie Lisbon Story - the soundtrack gave the band international fame. Thanks to that, Madredeus spread their wings to the world and conquered fans from all over Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.

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