Misia was born in the city of Oporto, where she lived until the end of her
adolescence. The daughter of a family with great socio-cultural differences, and
the third generation of artists on her mother's side, she inherited from her
mother and grandmother a fascination for the world of the performance stage.
Family reasons led her to interrupt her studies and to travel to Barcelona,
where she became acquainted with new artistic tendencies. At the same time,
distance and "saudade" (longing) began to come together in a new look at her own
cultural roots. Thus there reappeared, and stayed, the memory of Fado (of her
first experiences in the fado houses of Oporto), which became an inspiring force
and, later a chosen vocation. Far from Portugal, a journey "inside" began, in
Meanwhile, Misia worked as a "professional artist" .She took part in various
television programs, sang in various styles, in various languages, in various
locales of the "movida madrileña" cultural movement (the great cultural
explosion that took place in Madrid). She tried a little of everything, still
viewing her profession as an exciting way of life. Of these years, rich in
anonymous artistic experiences, bohemian living and financial difficulties,
Misia retained memories and a useful stage skill. Without forgetting her special
affection for boarding houses and trains.
In 1990, the journey "inside" had as its final destination Fado and the return
to Portugal, where she still lives. Having decided to take seriously this urban
music, temporarily in cultural and commercial disgrace following the Revolution
of the Carnations (1974), Misia began to work in Lisbon with musicians,
composers, lyricists and poets. Thus began a long and solitary personal path, at
a time when, between the enormous success of Amalia Rodrigues and the increasing
success of world music (which aroused the commercial interest of recording
companies and the curiosity of the media and public for this musical genre)
there was a long wait.
The self titled
Misia, her first CD, was produced by EMI-Valentim de Carvalho in
1991. In 1993 it was followed by Misia Fado, initially privately produced and
subsequently taken on by BMG-Portugal, after proposals from Japan, Korea and
Spain, countries in which Misia worked regularly in that year.
Tanto menos, tanto mais was released in 1995, also by BMG, and was considered
one of the best CDs of the year by a number of European newspapers (Expresso,
Lib?ration, Le Monde etc), and it heralded the consolidation of her
international career, winning the French award Grand Prix du Disque de
l'Acad?mie Charles Cros. In spite of this, it was a difficult period of being a
recording "orphan", a fact reflected above all in the inadequate distribution of
In 1996, Misia performed for the first time in Paris (Maison des Cultures du
Monde) and was contacted by Erato Disques, the French classical music
label, part of the Warner Classic Music group.
Garras Dos Sentidos in 1998. Distributed in 62 countries, it sold
some 200,000 copies, earning a Silver Disc in Portugal. It was voted a "Choc de
la Musique" in France, and in Portugal was in the list of the One Hundred Best
Discs of the 20th Century in the newspaper Publico.
Paixoes Diagonais followed in 1999, in which Misia sings a fado accompanied at
the piano by Maria Joao Pires in a unique meeting of sensibilities. She received
excellent articles and reviews of this project, notably, for the first time in
Portuguese music, a "spotlight" in the highly regarded American journal
Billboard. Three fados from this CD were used as part of the soundtrack for the
film "Passionata" (Dan Ireland, USA), one of them being choreographed by Bill T.
Misia took for her fados words by some of the greatest poets in Portuguese
literature, such as Fernando Pessoa, Antonio Botto, Natalia Correia and Mario de
Sa-Carneiro, and also the Brazilian Carlos Drummond de Andrade. The contemporary
poets Lidia Jorge, Agustina Bessa Luis, Mario Claudio and the Nobel laureate
Jose Saramago wrote especially for her voice. The word, poetry - used as a link
between the present and an older way of singing - has been the principal element
in Misia's work over the last ten years. Work which has acquired its own sound,
with the introduction of the violin and the accordion, instruments which play
fado in the streets. Ricardo Dias, producer of both "Garras" and "Paixoes,"
provided the arrangements.
Meanwhile, there were concerts in the world's most famous halls, such as
Town Hall (New York), the Philharmonia in Berlin, the Olympia (Paris), Palacio
de Los Congresos (Madrid), Cocoon Theater (Tokyo), Piccolo Teatro (Milan) etc,
etc. The "concert" and the reaction of the audience are her principal source of
energy. Her fados and her person have inspired work by artists from different
areas and cultures, including American choreographer Bill T. Jones, Indian
ballet dancer Padma Subramanian, French director Patrice Leconte, and Spanish
With Ritual Misia returned to the musical tradition of Fado (Portuguese guitar,
fado guitar and acoustic bass). The lyrics were mostly written by songwriters
and recorded in whole takes, using a valve microphone, as was done fifty years
ago. The musical direction and two unpublished songs were provided by Carlos
Gon?alves, the great composer and accompanist of Amalia Rodrigues' last years.
About Ritual Misia said: "it is a CD which shows the course I have taken.
Doing, undoing and redoing, knowing that there exists no pure art and that each
artist must have his own universe. My hell and my paradise, my life and my death
are contained in this disc. My Fado"
In 2003 she released
Canto, which includes the best works of Portuguese
guitarist Carlos Paredes with poems by Vasco Graca Moura, Sergio Godinho and
Her 2005 release,
Drama Box, is a collection of tangos, boleros and fados,
sung in Portuguese and Spanish.
In 2009 she released the double album, Ruas (streets). Mísia went beyond
fado's borders. It inckludes fado and other types of music that Misia thinks has a
Misia (EMI-Valentim de Carvalho, 1991)
Misia Fado (BMG-Portugal, 1993)
Tanto menos, tanto mais (BMG, 1995)
Garras Dos Sentidos (Erato-Detour, 1998)
Paixoes Diagonais (1999)
Drama Box (2005)
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