The History

1985
(July/August)
Pedro Ayres Magalhães, the bass-player with Heróis do Mar (a group which was then at the very height of its success) and Rodrigo Leão, the bass-player with Sétima Legião, decided to relieve some of the boredom that they felt in belonging to the then Portuguese pop world by trying to play "a different type of music".
Whenever there was a gap in the diaries of the two bands, they would get together and try to write tunes for two acoustic guitars. Pedro Ayres Magalhães began to write some lyrics to fit these tunes, whilst imagining the sort of "voice" that might sing them. Gabriel Gomes, the accordion-player with Sétima Legião, joined them in these improvised jam sessions.
1986
(October)
Francisco Ribeiro, a friend of Pedro Ayres that was studying to play the cello at the Lisbon Conservatory, was invited to join the band - but the voice that they needed was still missing, since the auditions that the musicians had held with different female singers never fully satisfied them. One night, on a visit to Bairro Alto, the attention of Rodrigo Leão and Gabriel Gomes was drawn to a young woman who suddenly began to sing fado at a table where she was sitting with a group of friends.
This was how they first met the then teenager Teresa Salgueiro, who they invited to take part in an audition singing the repertoire that the friends had built up by that time.
After the first few songs had been played, the musicians realised that they had finally found the voice that they had been looking for.
Pedro Ayres was just as surprised when he returned from a trip to Brazil and listened to the cassette that his companions had recorded. The groupís first regular rehearsals were held in the suburbs of Lisbon, in thesame room that was used by the group Heróis do Mar, butwhich proved to be completely unsuitable during the harsh winter months.
A friend that they had in common got in touch with the managers of Teatro Ibérico, a small independent theatre company operating in a wing of the old Convento de Madre de Deus, in Xabregas, in the east of Lisbon.
They would normally rehearse at night after the theatre company had finished their performance, and they became extremely excited both by the sound produced by the acoustics of that space and the results of their own efforts.
 
1987
Throughout the spring months, the rehearsals of Madredeus gradually became the meeting point for a small group of Lisbon people.
The groupís friends, as well as the circle of friends ofthe members of Heróis do Mar and Sétima Legião, began to gather there almost every night and the space soon took onthe atmosphere of a workshop: the musicians would ask the people that were there for their opinions, this would be followed by a discussion and new ideas would then be suggested...
As the group still had no name, the group of people that regularly came to listen began to refer to them by the name of the place - "Madredeus".
Meanwhile, Pedro Ayres Magalhães passed round two or three cassettes containing the songs ofthis new group and tried to convince the managers of EMI-Valentim de Carvalho (who were already marketing the records of Heróis do Mar and Sétima Legião) to record and publish this new work. However, the great rapport that had been forged between the four musicians and the young singer, and the discovery of a new "sound" (Rodrigo Leão had rather timidly begun to play the synthesiser) caused events to move much more quickly than they had originally intended: they decided to record in that same rehearsal space, without having to wait for an available studio, and Pedro convinced the record company to invest in this original and innovative production. Meanwhile, after listening to one of the cassettes, the young writer Miguel Esteves Cardoso had published an enthusiasticreview in the weekly music paper "Blitz", in which he defended the idea that "Music is one of the various kinds of truth" and that Madredeus represented the nationís greatest hope in this field.
The recording sessions took place during the nights of 28, 29 and 30 July.
The 19 songs were recorded digitally on only two tracks, and the quintet played them live to a small audience of specially invited guests.
To guard against any unwanted noise, the musicians played barefoot with cushions under their feet, and the recordings were always interrupted whenever a tram went past in the street outside.
Madredeus finally played to a live audience for the first time on 29 November (Porto) and 30 November (Lisbon), in the first half ofthe concert at which Sétima Legião presented their new album "Mar de Outubro".
Right from the beginning, they were to get enthusiastic receptions from their audiences, especially for the song "A Vaca de Fogo", but people also appreciated that this music required a new attitude on the part of the listening public.
During their first concert in Lisbon, a breakdown in the PA system meant that they had to play the rest of the concert without any amplification, and the audience of 1500 people in the Aula Magna at Lisbon University consequently found themselves having to make an unexpected effort, with quite startling results.
In the first interviews that they gave, the group insisted that the instrumental arrangements were inspired by
the traditions of Portuguese popular music and that they wanted to reawaken peopleís taste and enthusiasm for songs that were sung in Portuguese. And they also displayed a completely new attitude: "We are not a group, we are just people who get together to play" (Francisco Ribeiro): "Our songs have more or less sprung from improvisations. They were created in an atmosphere of great calm, and some of them started out as little more than exercises designed for us all to practise playing our instruments together. In our concerts, we try to relieve the tension that builds up in both the audience and the musicians.
We want to give ourselves the time to create our music on stage, so that the people who are listening to us can accompany us in this act of creation" (Pedro Ayres Magalhães).
In the first week in December, the album "Os Dias de Madredeus", produced by Pedro Ayres Magalhães, was released, with 16 tracks: "As Montanhas", "A Sombra", "A Vaca de Fogo", "Os Pássaros Quando Morrem Caem no Céu", "A Estrada do Monte", "Adeus... E Nem Voltei", "A Península", "A Cantiga do Campo", "Fado do Mindelo", "A Marcha da Oriental", "A Cidade", "Maldito Dia Aziago", "A Andorinha", "O Brasil", "O Meu Amor Vai Embora" and "Amanhã".
The record immediately became a regular feature both on the radios and in the columns of newspapers, and is now recognised as representing a major watershed in Portuguese music.
1988
Madredeus began to be booked on an increasingly regular basis for live concerts in other Portuguese cities: Lisbon, Setúbal (an open air concert in front of 8000 people), Santa Maria da Feira, Lisbon, Barreiro, Reguengos, Viana do Castelo, Santa Maria (in the Azores), Lisbon, Cova da Piedade, Angra do Heroísmo (again in the Azores), Aveiro, Lisbon, Sines and Coimbra. Barely had they recovered from the astounding impressions caused by their visit to the Azores than they were invited to join the Portuguese delegation to the Young Mediterranean Artists Biennial Festival, and so in December they found themselves on their way to Bologna.
Delighted by the city and the presence of artists from various countries (and from a wide range of different arts), in addition to playing the two concerts that were originally planned - and which had a surprising and positive effect upon the audience - they were involved in various spontaneous happenings during their stay, trying out some of their ideas for new songs.
They then returned to Lisbon for yet another concert, on 22 December, during the Cultural Trade Fair. This same year, they made their first videoclip for "A Vaca de Fogo" (directed by Paulo Miguel Forte).
1989
Far exceeding all their initial expectations, Madredeus continued to be constantly sought after. They returned once again to the Azores (Ponta Delgada and then later Angra do Heroísmo) and played at Silves, Covilhã, Lisbon, Viseu and Évora.
 In June, they travelled to North Korea to play at the Pyongyang Youth Festival. Returning once again to Lisbon .
That same summer, they were to play an absolutely unforgettable concert at the Igreja de São Luís dos Franceses, a space that was too small to hold the great crowd of fans, who spilled out to fill the street in front of the church. After this, they played at Odivelas, at the Sagres Festival, Crato and Coimbra.
On their return to Lisbon in November, Madredeus already included a number of new songs in their concert repertoire, which they did not always play in the same way or with the same arrangements.
 The audience, however, soon became perfectly familiar with the names of their new songs -"Cuidado", "O Navio", "O Pomar das Laranjeiras" - whilst the band got ready to record a second album.
At the last concert which they gave that year at the Aula Magna in Lisbon, the first part was filled with special compositions for two synthesisers, written by Nuno Cavarro and Carlos Maria Trindade, the keyboard player with Heróis do Mar (a groupwhich had meanwhile suspended all its activities during that same year) and a regular companion of Pedro Ayres in his various musical adventures since 1979.
The site of the groupís rehearsals was moved from the Convento da Madre de Deus to the Colectividade de Santa Catarina, close to St. Georgeís Castle, with a magnificent view over Lisbon and the River Tagus.
1990
The album "Existir" was recorded at the Namouche studios in Lisbon, at different periods between February and April.
Finally, after three years, this was Madredeusí first experience in a studio, and it was here that they got to know António Pinheiro da Silva - a former member of two influential Portuguese bands during the 1970s, Perspectiva and Banda do Casaco, who had given up live performances to concentrate on a career as a sound engineer and producer.
The rapport that the group immediately struck with him resulted in the album being jointly produced by Pedro Ayres and António Pinheiro da Silva, who was to continue working with Madredeus until 1996.
On 19 and 20 April, they presented their new songs live at the Tivoli Cinema. "Matinal" (featuring for the first time the excellent voice of the cellist Francisco Ribeiro), "O Pastor", "O Navio", "Tardes de Bolonha" (an instrumental piece by Rodrigo Leão,which had been inspired by the groupís trip to Italy in 1988), "O Ladrão", "A Confissão", "O Pomar das Laranjeiras", "Cuidado", "As Ilhas dos Açores", "O Menino", "Solstício" and "A Vontade de Mudar". In May, they made a lightning visit to Vienna, where they played before the cityís mayor, after which they returned to Portugal for a series of concerts in Lisbon and other districts around the country. This same year, they visited Macau for the first time, also discovering the Far East for themselves.
Their first album was released in CD form, although the song "A Cantiga do Campo" had been omitted, which is still only available today in its original vinyl version.
1991
The "Existir" tour continued with concerts in Aveiro, Braga, Loures and Grândola. António Pinheiro da Silva became the groupís permanent companion. In March, they recorded the videoclips of "Cuidado" and "O Pastor" (produced by Latina-Europa and directed by Paulo Miguel Forte).
At the beginning of April, at the invitation of the Lisbon Municipal Council, they travelled to Florence to play in the Portuguese Cultural Week being held there.
They returned to the Azores (Ponta Delgada and Angra do Heroísmo) and then flew to Barcelona, for what was to be their first concert in Spain.
After this came concerts in Setúbal and at the Coliseu dos Recreios in Lisbon - where, on 30 April, they recorded the live double album "Lisboa" (the concert was also recorded on video by the Portuguese Television Company, RTP).
The album included as guest artists both the great master of the Portuguese guitar, Carlos Paredes, and a choir of 80 voices, who had come from the Azores expressly for this event.
After this came concerts in Guimarães, Porto and Matosinhos, and the groupís first trip to Rio de Janeiro. Before their first visit to Belgium at the end of the year to play at Europália/92, Madredeus also playedconcerts at Guarda, Évora, Macau, Almada, Viseu, Alpedrinha and Cascais.
1992
The new songs soon stuck in the memory of all those who heard them.
At the beginning of the year, Madredeus were faced with an extensive programme of foreign concerts and, much against their wishes (although they were, at the same time, excited by the idea), they played almost no concerts in Portugal, except for five dates in Lisbon, at different times during the year.
They therefore travelled to Belgium (playing two concerts in Bruges and one in Brussels, whilst the groupís agent and the managers of EMI Portuguesa were simultaneously engaging in intense promotional activity with  their colleagues in Belgium and the Benelux countries) and France  (Printemps de Bourges, Rochelle and Toulouse).
They also played at Expo Ď92 in Seville, returning once more to Brussels and passing through France (Blenod, Voiron and Brieux) on their way to Switzerland (Martigny), returning to France once again to play in Paris for the first time and then back again to Belgium (Hasselt, Geimbern, Aalst, Bruges, Turnhout, Gent and Kortrijk), where EMIís most enthusiastic local office had released the record "Existir".
In October, they visited Japan for the first time for a series of promotional showcases. Then they returned once again to France (Grenoble and Rennes), also playing in Madrid and, for the first time, in Amsterdam. Before Christmas the live double album "Lisboa" was released in Portugal.
1993
At the beginning of the year, the number of concerts planned by Madredeus showed an enormous increase in relation to 1992.
In January, they visited Germany for concerts in Friburg, Berlin, Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Stuttgart. In February, in an interview that they gave to a Lisbon weekly paper, Teresa Salgueiro and Francisco Ribeiro were to say: "On stage weíre saying no to famine, war and all forms of violence".
This same month, they returned to Belgium (where the band had an ever bigger group of fans and the album
"Existir" was beginning to shoot up the music sales charts) to perform in Brussels (two nights), Angoulême, Liége and Gent.
After this came Spain, with concerts in Barcelona, León and Saragoça. EMI decided to launch Madredeus on the international record circuit.
They travelled to Greece for some promotional showcases.
Pedro Ayres, who was also involved in a parallel project (with the group Resistência) invited the guitarist José Peixoto to take his place for the groupís live performances.
 The other musicians in the group found this situation rather strange, however, and Pedro immediately returned, so that thereafter Madredeus became a sextet with two guitarists.
 In June, they played at a football stadium in Lisbon during the festival Portugal ao Vivo (Portugal Live), in front of 50,000 people.
Joana Vicente directed another videoclip of the group for "O Pastor".
During the summer, the group undertook an extensive tour of France: Paris, Quimper, Loire, Vannes, Istres, Reims, Chartres, Sèvres, St. Priest, Ile de Ré, Tarbes, Dijon, St. Barthélemy, Athis, Bordeaux, Quevelly, St. Thibaut, Montluçon, Lagny, Montelimar, Toulouse.
Taking advantage of a short break between concerts, Pedro Ayres Magalhães took Madredeus on a visit to the Neolithic burial site at Carnac.
Later they returned to Greece, to promote the release of their record in this country, and played at Athens, Salonika, Rhodes and Crete.
 In September, the group toured Holland, playing at Amsterdam, Groningen and Eindhoven.
 In October, they had a truly fascinating first concert tour of Japan: Tokyo, Osaka, Amakusa and once again Tokyo.
Before returning to Lisbon, they passed through Luxembourg and Switzerland (Lausanne and Mulhouse).
And, in December, they were finally able to satisfy the wishes of their Portuguese fans, who had been greatly upset by such a long absence, and played at Covilhã, Coimbra, Funchal (in Madeira), Viseu, Guimarães, Macau, Sintra and finally Lisbon - where they were given a most glorious reception with four nights of concerts at the Belém Cultural Centre. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Leão had released his first solo album "Ave Mundi Luminar".
1994
Exhaustion was not the only thing that Madredeus had accumulated during 1993.
At the end of January, after a short break of two weeks, everything started all over again.
The bandgot together again (this time moving the site of their rehearsals to Gabriel Gomesí house) to work on some new songs and to try and use their music as a way of making sense of the experiences that they had had in the meantime.
During this period, the group paid a brief visit to the studio to record a version of "Maio, Maduro Maio" which was to be included in the tribute album to José Afonso, "Filhos da Madrugada". Pedro Ayres Magalhães was approached by the German film director Wim Wenders, who was preparing a film on Lisbon (the European Cultural Capital for 1994) and wanted to use some of Madredeusí songs in the filmís soundtrack.
In March, the musicians flew to England with António Pinheiro da Silva and Jonathan Miller (a British sound engineer who had been living and working in Lisbon for several years) where they shut themselves away in the heart of the English countryside at the Great Linford Manor Studios.
There the songs for their new album began to take shape and the idea was formed of composing entirely original music for Wendersí film, whilst the contacts between Pedro and the director (who was extremely enthusiastic about the idea) were beginning to turn into a discussion about the role that the group themselves might play in the film, and in what context.
Later they went to London and finished their recording work at the Lansdowne Recording Studios.
 Everything was ready on 5 May: instead of making one album, they had made two, to the great amazement of the record company, who were caught totally by surprise.
The first album was released that same spring, and its title was intended to sum up the impressions that foreign audiences had most frequently transmitted to them about their reactions to their songs: "O Espírito da Paz" (The Spirit of Peace).
 The new songs were presented first hand to the Belgian press during a private concert held in a beautiful Brussels church.
During a brief visit to Portugal, the group recorded the videoclips of "Vem" and "Ao Longe o Mar" (directed by José Pinheiro) and filmed part of their participation in the Wendersí sfilm.
The new songs were presented to the general public at a memorable concert held in the monastery of Batalha, and then at Aveiro and Braga, in Brazil (at São Salvador and São Paulo), in Denmark (Copenhagen) and Brussels.
 Only after this did the group return to Lisbon to take part in the concert organised as a tribute to José Afonso at the Alvalade Stadium in Lisbon, and to play at the Coliseu in Porto at the beginning of July.
And it was here that Rodrigo Leão publicly announced his decision to leave the group, unable to keep up with the intense pace of working with Madredeus and preferring to devote himself to his solo musical career.
Within the space of a week, he had been replaced by Carlos Maria Trindade, who immediately accompanied Madredeus on their short tour of Spain: Vigo, La Coruña, Salamanca, Bilbao, Donostia, Saragoza and Murcia. Before the end of August, they also played at Setúbal, Cascais, Óbidos, Portimão, Nazaré, Montemor-o-Velho, Tomar, Viseu, Viana do Castelo, Funchal (Madeira) and Ponta Delgada (Azores), before going to Ibiza
for a small showcase concert organised by EMI.
After this, they went on the road once more to play other brief showcase concerts in those countries where their record had been released: Spain, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Germany, France, Scandinavia and Belgium. At the beginning of October, they once again boarded a plane for their second concert season in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Sagamiomo and Sendai) where they were personally complimented on their music by the Emperorís family.
They returned through Sweden (Stockholm), England (London, the South Bank Centre), Belgium (Gent, Neerpelt and Brussels), once again playing at Amsterdam and then embarking on a tour of Germany (Munich, Hamburg, Berlin, Stuttgart, Frankfurt), Greece and France, before returning to Lisbon to play a week of concerts before an ecstatic audience at the Belém Cultural Centre in December.
On the last night, Teresa Salgueiro and Madredeus finally began to reveal some of the songs from the "hidden album", the soundtrack for the Wendersí film, which was to be called "Ainda".
In the week before Christmas, all of Madredeusí albums were in the Top 20 of the charts of the Portuguese Gramophone Association, a feat that nobody had ever previously achieved in the history of the Portuguese record industry.
The group were desperately looking forward to a holiday and a period of well-earned rest.
1995
In January, Madredeusí short holidays are interrupted by the arrival of Wim Wenders in Lisbon to film two videoclips with the songs "Céu da Mouraria" and "Alfama".
For the first of these clips, the Lisbon Dance Companyís premises were used; for the second, an old Lisbon tram was used, travelling on its old route through Alfama.
 Three days later, the group were again on the road, setting off for a new tour of Spain, where they played twenty concerts in February. Their holidays had, of course, been postponed.
In March, the "Ainda" album was released and the première was held of Wim Wendersí "Lisbon Story". Wenders also wrote some extremely touching notes for the albumís cover.
This same month, Madredeus played 19 concerts on the Portuguese mainland, culminating in the concerts at the
Coliseu in Porto on 31 March and 1 April.
In the second week of April, they travelled to the Azores, to take part in the filming of a documentary about the group, directed by the Dutchman Rob Rombout.
They returned to Portugal at the end of July and, during the month of August, played a series of open-air concerts at historical sites around the country, starting at the walls of Vila Nova de Cerveira and then playing successively at Praça João Franco in Guimarães, the Monastery of São Bento da Vitória in Porto, the Palace of Queluz, the Solar de Mateus at Vila Real, and the old riding arena at the Fortress of Almeida.
 In September, they travelled to Brazil (from where they returned absolutely thrilled with their concert at the
Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo, with the orchestra and arrangements conducted by Jaques Morelenbaum, who
habitually works with Caetano Veloso) and they also made their first appearances in the United States (New York, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles). In October, they returned to Japan. Passing briefly through Lisbon, they gave a concert at the Tivoli Cinema on 2 November, during the launching of "Um Futuro Maior", the book by Jorge P. Pires, which related the groupís biography.
Less than two weeks later they returned to Brazil. The accumulated exhaustion felt by the group was beginning to put a strain on the relationships between its members.
They arrived in Lisbon shortly before Christmas and immediately embarked on a period of holidays.
1996
The group reassembled at the beginning of January to discuss the re-negotiation of their contract with the record company.
Negotiations took place on an almost daily basis and lasted for a period of two months. In March, the group went back on the road once more, for a new season of concerts in Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, and then in the United States.
On the morning when they were due to fly to the United States (after a day and a half in Lisbon), a weekly paper announced the break-up of the group - a piece of news that was immediately denied, that very morning, by the musicians themselves.
They returned to Portugal at the end of June, and some days later played at the Festival in Vilar de Mouros.
After the concert, the six musicians entered upon a sabbatical period, vaguely agreeing to meet again in September to work on the songs for their next album.
By the end of the year nothing had happened.
1997
Disagreements seemed to have set in between the members of the group and all the planning of the groupís activities was suspended.
In February, Pedro Ayres, Teresa Salgueiro, José Peixoto and Carlos Maria Trindade began rehearsals in a room
at the Belém Cultural Centre.
 At the end of May, the four musicians moved to the Valentim de Carvalho Studios, at Paço de Arcos, in the suburbs of Lisbon, where they rehearsed their new songs. On 6 June, an agreement was signed which consummated their separation from Gabriel Gomes and Francisco Ribeiro.
A week later, the bass-player Fernando Júdice - a former member of the group Trovante and a companion of Pedro in the group Resistência, was invited to join Madredeus.
In the first days of July, the new line-up was informally presented to the press during a three-day period of open rehearsals at the Inatel Theatre, close to Lisbon and the beach at Costa da Caparica: in the first two days they played part of their new repertoire and then made themselves available to journalists for interviews. On the third day, they played the whole of their new repertoire.
After this, they travelled to Italy to do six full concerts with the new songs. Towards the end of July they travelled to Italy again to the Condulmer Recording Studios at Zorban di Mogliano, near Venice, where they spent the month of August recording "O Paraíso".
By the 21st of August they were alreading playing at Pamplona, Spain. The new songs were first presented to the portuguese public with a free open air concert held in Évora on 18 September, near the ruins of an ancient roman temple dedicated to the goddess of hunting, Diana.