15 May 1974 (age 43)
Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal
Lula Pena was born in Lisbon and taught herself guitar while listening to pop, rock, soul and jazz as well as Portuguese music. At the age of 22 she moved to Barcelona (Spain), playing in many of the city’s jazz clubs. Her first album, Phados released by the Belgian label Carbon 7 in 1998 has her unique versions of Brazilian and Portuguese songs by the likes of Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque and fados made famous by her mentor, the great Amália Rodrigues.
A voice that’s both smooth and hot, Lula lends an intensity of interpretation, with Portugal’s trademark melancholia not far beneath. Lula Pena takes traditional Fado as her starting point, then adds extra layers of depth through the use of instruments that are not normally associated with this traditional genre.
Since 2001, she has played with a live band that incorporates the Arabic stringed instrument qanun and percussion instrument bendir. Beside her voice and guitar, her group features Jan de Haas on vibraphone, udu drum and bongos, and Osama Abdulrasol on qanun, alaúde and bendir, who worked with her on her new album, Profissão de Fé.
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