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Natalino Duarte

(18 April, 1935 - 21 February, 2002)

Natalino Duarte was born in Lisbon, in 1935. His talent as an interpreter was revealed very early and, at just 9 years old, he performed in public for the first time.

After a few years he began to appear in public fado performances, but this time integrated in "cegadas" (street plays), theater plays with an amateur character that took place mostly on the street and where fado was a regular presence.

Given his natural tendency to sing fado, Natalino Duarte signed up to participate in the contest “Primavera do Fado”, in 1957. In this contest, organized by the poet Francisco Radamanto and whose eliminations took place in the old "Café Luso", the fadista won the first place, becoming a professional fadista from this moment on.

His career begins precisely with the hiring of the permanent cast of "Café Luso", where he will remain for many years.

Natalino Duarte was hired by almost all the typical houses in Lisbon. For example, he spent 10 year sat the restaurante of Argentina Santos, "Parreirinha de Alfama". Subsequently, he assumed the position of artistic director of the houses "Pico do Areeiro", "Solar da Marina" and "Mil e Um", accumulating the interpretation of fados with the selection of artists for their respective cast.

From the 1980s Natalino Duarte took on a new artistic direction, this time at "Páteo Alfacinha", a space to which he remained dedicated almost until the date of his death.

Although Natalino Duarte's relationship with television began in the 1960s, integrating several programs and even performing in partnership with Maria Teresa de Noronha, it will be through "Páteo Alfacinha" that the fado singer will gain some public visibility, by recording numerous programs of RTP in that space.

His long career developed mainly in the context of performances in Lisbon's fado houses, but Natalino Duarte still toured from north to south of Portugal and also traveled abroad where he performed for United States emigrant communities, Canada, Holland and Spain.

During the 60s, Natalino Duarte recorded albums for Alvorada and Marfer labels. From a range of 14 edited EPs, Movieplay selected 18 of his biggest hits and reissued them on CD. This album, released in 1998 and integrated in the collection “Fados do Fado”, pays tribute to the fado singer and restores to the general public the opportunity to (re) know some of his most successful themes, such as “Lenda da Fonte”, written by Domingos da Silva, “Morena lá do canto”, by Francisco Radamanto and Miguel Ramos, or “Eu gosto daquela feia”, by Albino Paiva and Júlio Proença.

On July 30, 1999, APAF (Portuguese Association of the Friends of Fado) organized a dinner in honor of Natalino Duarte, at "Páteo Alfacinha". Fado singers Carlos do Carmo, Argentina Santos, Camané, Anita Guerreiro, Fernando Maurício, Ada de Castro, António Rocha, Lenita Gentil, Jorge Fernando and Maria da Fé, among others, were present.

Natalino Duarte died in February 2002 from a long-term illness. Although he did not leave many records, the fado singer is part of a generation that has had a long career in the Lisbon's fado houses, a naturally privileged environment for the interpretation of Fado.

 

Source:

Tribute booklet to Natalino Duarte (1999), organized by APAF in Páteo Alfacinha;

Biographical data provided by Dr. Luís de Castro.

  • Morena Lá do Canto Natalino Duarte (Francisco Radamanto / Miguel Ramos)