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Manuel Freire

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Vagos, Portugal (1968 – present)

Manuel Freire is a Portuguese influential left-wing singer and composer, although he also works as a computer technician. Freire was born in Vagos, near Aveiro in 25 April of 1942.

Freire’s first work was an EP, released in 1968, with the title “Livre” (“Free”), that included 4 songs. “Livre”, “Dedicatória”, “Pedro Soldado” and “Eles”. The best-known song was “Livre”, a hymn to the free will and thought as the album was released during the Fascist regime of Oliveira Salazar, against the official censorship. After that, Freire became a close friend of some of the most influential left-wing musicians like Zeca Afonso, Padre Fanhais or Adriano Correia de Oliveira. Some years later, still during the dictatorial regime, Freire participated in a TV show, in the only Portuguese station operating at the time, RTP, the “Zip-Zip”, singing a poem by António Gedeão called “Pedra Filosofal” (“Philosopher’s Stone”) that became his most well-known song, still broadcast.

Later, he released an album composed by 11 songs, which had lyrics written by influential Portuguese poets, like António Gedeão, José Gomes Ferreira, Fernando Assis Pacheco, Eduardo Olímpio, Sidónio Muralha and José Saramago. For this album, Freire received the Portuguese Press Award, the most prestigious prize awarded to a musician in Portugal, at the time.

After the Carnation Revolution, in 1974, Freire continued his political action through the music, acting for working class publics in several places around the country. In 1978, he returned with another album, “Devolta”, once more, singing poems of great Portuguese poets.

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