Katia Guerreiro – Concert Review

By Jonathan Bradley

Concertos de Verão. 1st August.

It’s time for the latest in the Lagos season of Summer concerts. We are here to enjoy Katia Guerreiro, a seriously grown-up Fado performer. You’ll note there the use of the term performer, rather than merely a singer.

But we are not in an atmospheric nightclub, cradling a glass of Douro vinho reserve, trying not to breathe in the nicotine impregnated acoustic wall coverings. Instead, we are sat on plastic chairs, shivering slightly in the windy crosscurrents of the Parque de Feiras, which is too generous a name for an exposed, dusty car park. We are masked and socially distanced, though not in the severe regimented way of last week’s opera concert, where we were individually spaced in a formation that would’ve done credit to a Peoples’ Army aerobics display. Tonight, we are permitted to huddle together in couples and threesomes, thus triggering my cunning plan, to use my wife as a windbreak. And as we look smugly around, we savour the envious glances of those who didn’t think to bring their own cushions. However, a pair of thick socks, stored elsewhere in a drawer till October, would not have gone amiss.

Katia Guerreiro and her support combo of four classy guitarists, clad in sophisticated Iberian black suits, had a tricky task here, for fado is a sometime language of intimacy, not necessarily suited to draughty open spaces. But fado is also an expansive tongue, taking themes of love, loss, betrayal, passion and an ardent affirmation of country, family and heritage. (Luckily its absence of songs about pickup trucks and deceased dogs helps to set it apart from country and western). And Katia tonight was so joyous, so rousing, I’d have followed her into battle, much to the mirth of any enemy forces. Her name coincidentally translates as Katia Warrior.

She filled the stage with the force and emotive clarity of her voice and, as the night sky turned to inky blackness and the wind dropped a little, with pockets of stillness, she created the atmosphere we had thought was otherwise lost tonight.

So, muito obrigado to her, performing to a sparse audience as if we were a packed stadium of thousands, and thank you again Lagos, the best of places, for remembering the civilising and humanising influence of the arts as we claw our way gradually out of the numbing prison of this pandemic.

A reminder that tickets for the concert were a paltry 5 euros each.

Photo © Municipio de Lagos


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