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Argentina Santos – I Don’t Know If I Sing Or If I Pray

28 February, 2010 to 30 April, 2010

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On February 27th 2010, the Fado Museum opened to the public the temporary exhibition “Argentina Santos – I Don’t Know If I Sing Or If I Pray”, in the presence of the Mayor of Lisbon, Dr. António Costa. In this session, where the fans and friends of Argentina Santos met, Fado was presented by the voices of Carlos do Carmo, Ricardo Ribeiro e Ana Sofia Varela.

The most remote memories of Maria Argentina Pinto dos Santos, born on February 6, 1924, still linger in Mouraria. Her fado has the strength of a street cry and the restraint of a prayer. This popular song combines – in perfect symbiosis – both human and artistic authenticity. The fado by Argentina Santos is fearless and knows neither excuses nor bonds. It is real. With her eyes shut and her praying hands, Argentina’s voice also tells us the fado of a “life that has been lived”. For our utmost fascination in the voice of Argentina Santos we can nowadays listen to the most deep-rooted fado traditions.

For decades Argentina Santos refused any media exposure and most part of her artistic career was confined to Parreirinha de Alfama. And on doing so she also turned her restaurant into a true fado workshop, a set of affections and stage for creative complicity for poets, musicians and fadistas. Through Parreirinha de Alfama passed the voices of Lucília do Carmo, Alfredo Marceneiro, Maria da Fé, Fernanda Maria, Mariana Silva, Natércia da Conceição, Natalina Bizarro, Helena Tavares, Leonor Santos, Beatriz da Conceição, Flora Pereira, Júlio Peres among many others.

Photo: José Frade | Fado Museum

Photo: José Frade | Fado Museum

Photo: José Frade | Fado Museum

Photo: José Frade | Fado Museum

Photo: José Frade | Fado Museum

Photo: José Frade | Fado Museum