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Gisela João

(N. 6 November, 1983)

Born and raised in Barcelos, Gisela João lived in Porto for six years and arrived in Lisbon two years ago to make history.

The oldest of seven siblings, from a family with a background in the textile industry, it was through the radio that, as a child, she first came into contact with fado. She started to sing it straight away; first for her family, then for friends and neighbours, and finally in local competitions.

She moved to Porto to study fashion design and ended up immersed in the artistic night life of the city, enchanting the guests at a fado house in the traditional neighbourhood of Ribeira.

Eventually, singing won her over and took her to Lisbon.

In a small "borrowed" house in Mouraria she struggled under the oppressive weight of solitude and often thought of quitting, although she resisted. She first conquered the Sr. Vinho, Tasca da Bela, and Mesa de Frades fado houses before going on to fill venues such as Fábrica do Braço de Prata and Lux (first as a guest in a set by the post-dubstep wizard Nicolas Jaar and later in her own show on the invitation of Manuel Reis); more recently, a show that she gave at the Small Auditorium of the Belem Cultural Centre sold out two weeks in advance, with a "small" legion of her fans packing out the venue. Her deep, powerful voice, the way that she surrenders herself to the words, which she allows to dominate the performance, show that she is not just another new singer. And she was chosen by Camané as the breakout musical act of the moment.

Then the time came to face that big challenge and record her first album. She found the ideal accomplice in Frederico Pereira and once they had completed the hard task of selecting the repertoire – Gisela wanted to record more than fifty songs, ranging from fado to pop – the recording process began. In February 2013, at the Palácio Marquês de Pombal, we were certain of the path that we had to tread but far from being able to imagine the outcome.

Gisela João's debut album is a milestone in the history of contemporary fado. Taking no shortcuts and involving no pretence, it starts from a traditional background, becomes immersed in its origins, finds its authenticity again, and questions its excesses and mannerisms to become more genuine than ever, pointing to its own future.

After the presentation concert at the Centro Cultural de Belém, she "electrified" numerous stages from North to South of the country. She was quickly invited to perform on the most varied international stages, such as in Ghent, Copenhagen, Madrid, New York, Mérida, Manchester, Paris, Marseille, Rio de Janeiro, Brussels, London, etc.

In this interminable (and unstoppable) journey, the performances at the Coliseums of Lisbon and Porto, the show cycle “Caixinha de Música”, at the São Luiz Theater, where Gisela took over and interpreted themes of Nick Cave, Violeta Parra, Amy Winehouse, Leonard Cohen, divas, crooners and celebrated poets of our collective imagination.

And without forgetting, of course, the Gold and Platinum awards won by her debut album, alongside with the Revelation Award at the VIII Gala of the Amália Awards, the 2015 Woman of the Year Award at the GQ Gala Men Of The Year Awards 2015 and the Golden Globe Award for Best Individual Performer, a prize that was awarded at the XIX Portuguese Golden Globes Gala.

On November 11, 2016, a new album was released, with the name “Nua”, singing lyrics by artists from different musical areas such as Capicua and Cartola. In December 2018, at the invitation of the Centro Cultural de Belém, she performs on stage with the show "Uma Noite de Natal" (A Christmas Night), interpreting songs of the American songbook.

Recorded between Lisbon and Barcelona, in "AuRora" (2021), her third album, Gisela assumes herself as a lyricist and composer and "sings not only as we hope she sings, but beyond everything we've heard her sing until today".



HM Música

Gisela João, s/d

Gisela João, Museu do Fado, Foto de José Frade, 2010

Gisela João, Museu do Fado, Foto de José Frade, 2010

Gisela João, Foto de Sophia Vieira, s/d

Gisela João, s/d

Gisela João, Foto de Estelle Valente, 2013

Gisela João, CCB, Foto de José Frade, 2013

Gisela João, CCB, Foto de José Frade, 2013

Gisela João, Foto de Estelle Valente, 2016

  • Meu amigo está longe Gisela João (Ary dos Santos / Alain Oulman)