Portugal’s representative for Eurovision 1976, Carlos do Carmo has passed on January 1 at the age of 81. His family told media that he died following an aneurysm.
Born in Lisbon on in 1939, Carlos was best known as the biggest fado singer of his generation, and one of the most renowned of the genre of all time, earning the title of “the Frank Sinatra of Fado”.
The son of another iconic fado singer, Lucília do Carmo, Carlos had his start in the early 1960s when, after returning to Portugal from Switzerland to help his mother after his father’s death, he was encouraged to start singing, and from there, his career took off.
While he ran the fado house his mother owned, he expanded his repertoire to local and international success, performing in the Royal Opera House in London and the Paris Olympia. Articles of the time say that in 1976, RTP invited him to perform all the songs competing in that year’s Festival da Canção Para Europa, a fact which affirms has cemented his prominent position in the Portuguese music scene.
In that year, Carlos do Carmo represented Portugal at the Eurovision Song Contest, held in The Hague, with “Uma Flor de Verde Pinho”, earning 12th place.
Beyond his Eurovision participation and his extensive music career, Carlos Do Carmo is credited to have brought a new perspective and a refreshing take on the genre of fado as a whole, introducing orchestra and jazz elements to the mix, most prominently featured in his 1977 album Un Homem da Cidade.
Portugal honours Carlos Do Carmo
Portugal declared a day of mourning on January 4 in his honour.
The government of Portugal headed by Prime Minister Antonio Costa, has also awarded him the posthumous attribution of the Order of Liberty, “due to the decisive role that he had in the renewal of fado, an attribution that, for the rest, was already foreseen”.
In the same note, the Prime Minister announced that at the opening show of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union, the government will pay a national tribute to do Carmo.
Fazendo eco das palavras que cantou no “Fado da Saudade”: “Mas com um nó de saudade, na garganta/ Escuto um fado que se entoa, à despedida” de um grande amigo.
— António Costa (@antoniocostapm) January 1, 2021