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Fernando Alvim

(N. 6 November, 1934 - M. 27 February, 2015)

Fernando Alvim was born in Cascais on November 6, 1934. At a very early age he begins learning to play the guitar and his first fados with Pedro Araújo.

As a teenager he learns the classic guitar in Lisbon at Escola de Guitarra do Prof. Duarte Costa, and later takes the classical guitar courses by Prof. Emilio Pujol, at Conservatório Nacional.

As a professional guitar player Fernando Alvim plays for some fado singers in radio broadcasts by Emissora Nacional, clubs, associations, and later in the city’s various fado houses (casas de fado). Between 1968 and 1970 Fernando Alvim worked at the fado house "Abril em Portugal", and then transferred to "Luso".

Fernando Alvim however doesn’t devote to a single musical genre. His musical abilities and interest for the various styles of music lead him to getting involved in a wide range of works from fado to jazz.

In the 1950s he is a frequent presence at Hot Club. Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, and Wes Montgomery are some of his role models. He is also interested in bossa-nova and divulges this style in Portugal, mainly through the radio program "Nova Onda", broadcasted every fortnight by Emissora Nacional.

Carlos Paredes listened to this show and invited Fernando Alvim to join him playing in the soundtrack of a documentary on filigree work, directed by Cândido Costa Pinto, "Rendas de metais preciosos", thus beginning a collaboration that would prove outstanding. From 1959 to 1984 he worked with Carlos Paredes on a regular basis, creating a concert duo, and the harmonies and rhythm accompaniment for his music. This teamwork featured in the major halls of the five continents.

Fernando Alvim participates in all the discography of Carlos Paredes, and is his ideal partner: “Fernando Alvim was not a mere co-player. He played a fundamental role in Paredes’ musical creative involvement, enriching the speech’s melody connection with dissonant accords and giving it a serious and balanced supplementary dynamic".

By the end of the 1960s and beginning of the 1970s he appears on the variety TV show "Zip-Zip" and worked in the program’s song harmonisation, interpreters’ selection and music composition.

In 1969 he recorded "Pedra Filosofal" with Manuel Freire, and in the 1970s participated in several programs at Emissora Nacional, and created his own guitar band and recorded 2 EPs and 1 LP, featuring his own music.

Fernando Alvim recorded several fado records playing the guitar for many singers, as Alfredo Marceneiro, Amália Rodrigues, Luz Sá da Bandeira, Mísia, Carlos do Carmo, Vicente da Câmara, Teresa Tarouca, and Teresa Silva Carvalho, among others. He played with many other guitar players - Artur Paredes, Jaime Santos, José Nunes, João Torre do Vale, Pedro Caldeira Cabral, António Luís Gomes, António Bessa, Mário Pacheco, and has been working closely with António Chaínho for the last 15 years.

He did shows and records for different musical genres with Vinicius de Moraes, Teresa Paula Brito, Teresa Silva Carvalho, Manuel Freire, Caetano Veloso, Chico Buarque, Elba Ramalho, Charlie Hayden, Teresa Salgueiro, Filipa Pais, Rão Kyão, José Carlos Ary dos Santos, José Afonso, and Adriano Correia de Oliveira, among others.

He participated in several plays, as "Bodas de Sangue" by Garcia Llorca and staged by Carlos Avillez, and in some feature films, as "Os Verdes Anos" and "Mudar de Vida" directed by Paulo Rocha. He attended the Cannes Festival for many years.

He also worked with folk dance group "Verde-Gaio" and with Ballet Gulbenkian.

The Câmara Municipal de Cascais awarded him a cultural merit medal on June 7, 2005.

The CD “Nas Veias de Uma Guitarra – Tributo a Fernando Alvim” gathers two generations of musicians. Released in 2007, thiss project combines both the artistry of Alvim and the irreverence of Ricardo Parreira - the mind behind this tribute - resulting in one of Alvim's most singular records.

Fernando Alvim died in 2015, in Vila Nova de Ourém.



Museu do Fado – Interview done on November 10, 2006.

Biography handed by Fernando Alvim on November 10, 2006

Catalogue from the exhibition "Estar com Paredes", CML/EBAHL, 2000

Carita, Alexandra e Jorge Simão (2006), “Fados Nossos”, Lisboa, Aletheia Editores;

“Actual”, magazine from newspaperl “Expresso”, April 6, 2007

Fernando Alvim, s/d.

Fernando Alvim e Carlos Paredes, s/d.

Fernando Alvim e Carlos Paredes, Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores, s/d.

Fernando Alvim e António Chaínho, s/d.

  • Verdes Anos Carlos Paredes/ Fernando Alvim (Carlos Paredes)