Fernando Maurício(21 November, 1933 - 15 July, 2003)
Fernando da Silva Maurício was born in Lisbon; on Rua do Capelão, on the very heart of Mouraria, on November 21, 1933.
Born from an old family of that district, at 8 years old he was already singing at Chico da Severa, a pub where the fado singers would meet after returning from the frequent charity events where they used to sing for free.
He recalls those childhood days with nostalgia: fleeing from his parents’ home at dawn, opening the door quietly and heading for the pub. They (the artists) would go there to drink and would play a fado once in a while. I was crazy for the guitar. It was real madness. They would sit me on top of a barrel and I would start to sing… just like a parrot...”
In 1947, when he was just 13 years old, he was already working as shoe manufacturer and singing in local clubs. The Café Latino organised the fado competition “João Maria dos Anjos” and he won a worthy 3rd place. With a special permit from the Inspecção dos Espectáculos Fernando Farinha began his professional career.
On July 29, 1947 he entered the Marcha Infantil da Mouraria playing the part of the Conde Vimioso with Clotilde Monteiro as Severa.
The producer José Miguel hired him to perform on weekends at his fado houses (casas de fado), namely Café Latino, Retiro dos Marialvas, Vera Cruz, and Casablanca on Parque Mayer.
During the 1950s he sang professionally at Café Luso, in Bairro Alto, at Adega Machado, and at O Faia.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s some fado houses, as Nau Catrineta, Kaverna, O Poeta, Taverna d’El Rey, and Café Luso, conquered new audiences with the performances of the artist destiny would call the King of Fado. In the 1980s it would be the turn of Adega Mesquita.
Fernando Maurício appeared for 20 years on fado programs on Emissora Nacional, and on RTP, recorded, received awards – Prémio da Imprensa (1969), Prestígio and Carreira da Casa da Imprensa (1985/1986) – and did several shows abroad: Luxembourg, the Netherlands, England, Canada, and United States.
Apart from his fados with Francisco Martinho and in several colllections, some of his records are still available in the market: “De Corpo e Alma Sou Fadista” (Movieplay, 1984), “Fernando Maurício, Tantos Fados Deu-me a Vida” (Discossete, 1995), “Fernando Maurício, Os 21 Fados do Rei” (Metro-Som, 1997), “Fernando Maurício”, col. “O Melhor dos Melhores” (Movieplay, 1997), and “Fernando Maurício”, Clássicos da Renascença (Movieplay 2000).
Fernando Maurício was a kind heart and an extremely compassionate man who never gave much importance to a regular career. Throughout his life he appeared in hundreds of charity events throughout the country.
He is the greatest fado singer of his generation. His most original voice and his career made him King: King of Fado and King of Mouraria.
Refusing all honours, Fernando Maurício was always a simple man that never lost his ties to Mouraria.
It was there that he would see his old friends: friends he used to sing with, from the Summer balls, from the parties at Adega do Luís Saloio, from the walks through Praça da Figueira to watch the soldiers and the maids, from the football matches, from the Laranjinha and Rei Mandado games, from the practical jokes, from the swims in Chafariz da Guia, from the races down Alfama and Calçada de Santo André to Rua da Regueira, and from the childhood plays in the Tejo River where he learned to swim.
He recalls those days with nostalgia: “there was a bakery on Rua do Capelão where I was born and back then – the 1940s – we used to sleep on the street. We would get up in the morning and wash our faces at Chafariz da Guia. I had many friends. We had a football team and would play ball in the street. Between Capelão and Guia. We played barefoot. The bakery had panniers with warm freshly baked bread. At dawn, while the baker was working, we would lean against the door and get some bread. Those were hard times. There was a war. We were five siblings, and the two younger ones were born. My mother was from Bonfim, in Porto. She worked as a laundrywoman to make ends meet”.
He loves his friends and family above all things. He his very proud of his daughter Cláudia – named Rainha Cláudia by Amália Rodrigues.
With his friends – Zé Brasileiro, Calitas, Lenine, and so many others – he loves to share memories, engage in long talks while dealing a deck of cards, and recall those days in the Mouraria quarter.
Fernando Maurício died on July 15, 2003.
On October 31, 1994, the Câmara Municipal de Lisboa held an event to celebrate Fernando Maurício’s career 50th anniversary at Teatro Municipal de S. Luiz.
On May 12, 2001, the city of Lisbon paid him another tribute in an event held at Coliseu dos Recreios in which the Presidency of the Republic awarded him the Comenda de Bem Fazer.
On February 5, 2004, the city of Lisbon held a posthumous celebration with a fund raising event at Coliseu dos Recreios - “Boa Noite Solidão” – with special appearances by some of his friends and colleagues. The proceeds went to the family of Fernando Maurício.
“O Fado é o meu bairro”, Lisboa, CML, 2001; updated after his death.
A Igreja de Santo Estêvão Fernando Maurício (Gabriel de Oliveira / Joaquim Campos)