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Biography

  • Born

    14 March 1923

  • Born In

    Fundão, Castelo Branco, Portugal

  • Died

    1 August 2018 (aged 95)

Celeste Rodrigues (Maria Celeste Rebordão Rodrigues, Fundão, Portugal, 14 March 1923 – 1 August 2018) was a Portuguese fadista (fado singer) and the younger sister of Amália Rodrigues.

After Carnation Revolution in 1974, she went to Canada for six months, where her marriage to actor Varela Silva ended in divorce. She commuted between her two residences in Lisbon and Washington, where her two daughters live.

Although she did not achieve nearly as comprehensive a career as her sister, she was able to do so with recordings such as Lenda das Algas (Legend of the Algae), Já é tarde (It is already late) and the emblematic Fado Celeste achievements. She was honored with The Order of Prince Henry the Navigator (GCIH).

Born in Lisbon in 1923, Celeste Rodrigues's professional singing career did not start until 1951. As good a singer as she was, her name always stood in the larger-than-life shadow of her older sister Amália, with whom she remained very close through the years. Although she did have a few hits ("Fado Celeste," "Lenda das algas"), she did not record very extensively, preferring the warmth and intimacy of live performances. She spent some time in Canada in the 1970s, and throughout her career, she appeared at important concert halls in places like Paris and Rome. Unlike Amália, whose singing style was more commercial, Celeste will always be associated with a more traditional kind of fado, the so-called fado castiço: "It was in Lisbon that Portuguese ships set out in the fifteenth century to navigate the world," she says, "and it was in the heart of a sailor that fado was born." (All This Is Fado)

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