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.
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
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
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
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
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
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"
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.
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).
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.
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.
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,
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
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.
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
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
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
Exhaustion was not the only thing that Madredeus had accumulated during
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
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)
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
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
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
The group were desperately looking forward to a holiday and a period
of well-earned rest.
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
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
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.
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
By the end of the year nothing had happened.
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.