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José Luís Nobre Costa

(N. 4 May, 1948 - M. 11 February, 2014)

José Luís Nobre Costa was born in Lisbon in 1948. Back then it was normal for the Emissora Nacional to broadcast Fado, namely guitar instrumentals, and Nobre Costa was fascinated by the Portuguese guitar. He began studying guitar at age 15 by the influence of guitar players he would listen to on the radio, as Jaime Santos and Raul Nery. Later he was tutored by Raul Silva and learnt his first chords in a Gilberto Grácio given by his father.

His amateur musical journey began with the "Os Feiticeiros do Fado" group. This group would play at Restaurante "O Pote" and, later, at the Restaurante "Alga", two most adequate venues for Fado lovers’ gatherings. This group included various amateur singers and players, like Pedro Caldeira Cabral, Luís Durão, Luís Penedo, Ernesto Durão, Luís Morais, Carlos Semedo.

He goes professional in 1969 and joins the resident cast of "Faia" and participates in his first TV show accompanying Alfredo Marceneiro. He then works at "Taverna do Embuçado", where he meets the guitar player Fontes Rocha, and Pedro Leal with whom he develops his technique, described as: "At the beginning his style is similar to Jaime Santos’, but trying to get close to Raul Nery…”

Nobre Costa plays with João Braga on a regular basis and is later invited to participate in various shows at Casino do Estoril, where he played for 23 years with major Fado names, Helena Tavares, Maria Valejo, Lenita Gentil, Carlos Zel, Rodrigo, and many more.

During this period, he also played in two Casas de Fado owned by Rodrigo, "Forte D. Rodrigo" and "Arreda”. He recorded several records with the “fadista” Rodrigo, along with another guitar player - António Parreira.

In 1994 he played in two major shows by Ricardo Pais: "Fados", at Centro Cultural de Belém and Teatro da Trindade.

In 1999 he worked in the “Fado Por Timor” CD recording, an initiative by Casa do Fado e da Guitarra Portuguesa – currently Museu do Fado. In November 1999, along with the “fadista” João Braga, he joined the delegation of the President of the Portuguese Republic, Mr. Jorge Sampaio, on a state trip to Mexico.

He worked in the "Quatro Cantos" project with the musicians Francisco Gonçalves and Armando Figueiredo accompanying the “fadistas” António Pinto Basto, José da Câmara, Maria Armanda and Teresa Tapadas.

Between 2001 and 2002 José Luís Nobre Costa joined the faculty of the Escola do Museu do Fado, showing his commitment towards the lingering of this musical expression he loved so much: “Neither we nor the ones to come will be enough to continue our Fado”. He was also the tutor of Pedro de Castro, one of the major guitar players of our days.

Over his professional journey, José Luís Nobre Costa virtuosity was heard in countless recordings, radio and TV shows, and international shows accompanying renown musicians, namely Alfredo Marceneiro, Lucília do Carmo, Frei Hermano da Câmara, Argentina Santos, Manuel de Almeida, Rodrigo, Rão Kyão, António Pinto Basto, Carlos Zel, Dulce Guimarães, João Braga, among many others.

José Luís Nobre Costa died in Lisbon on February 11, 2014.

In 2017 his posthumous album “Há Guitarra” is released with some of his studio and live recordings, and the participation of Pedro de Castro, Francisco Gonçalves and Joel Pina.



Caldeira Cabral, Pedro (1999) "A Guitarra Portuguesa", Col. "Um Século de Fado", Lisboa, Ediclube;

Museu do Fado – Interview from September 12, 2006.


José Luís Nobre Costa e Maria da Fé Casino do Estoril, 1974

José Luís Nobre Costa, s/d.

José Luís Nobre Costa, António Parreira e Júlio Gomes, s/d.