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Mário Pacheco

Mário Pacheco’s assured guitar playing and captivating musical composition have not come about by chance. They are the result of dedication, hard work and a special love of music and fado in particular, rooted in a family tradition.

The son of guitarist António Pacheco who accompanied some of the most celebrated fadistas, Mário Pacheco began at an early age to master the mysteries of making the guitar sing and the melodic patterns of fado composition.

This early apprenticeship was to be deepened and extended in his study of solfeggio and the classical guitar at the Lisbon Academy of Music.

However, it is the cittern-like portuguese guitar that beguiles him, the instrument that he says “most expressively defines fado”.

He industriously studied the great guitarists: Armandinho, Artur Paredes, Carlos Paredes, Pedro Caldeira Cabral and Fontes Rocha. The foundations were thus laid for him to create his own style, both as a performer, accompanying such great singers as Amália Rodrigues, Alfredo Marceneiro, Hermínia Silva, Tristão da Silva, Max, Fernando Maurício and Maria da Fé, names that his father had also accompanied, and later as a composer.

With the musical upbringing that he had from the cradle, it was inevitable that this desire and inspiration to compose should emerge from his comprehensive grasp of the forms and harmonies of fado.

Carlos Zel, Paulo Bragança, Paulo de Carvalho, Joana Amendoeira and Mísia perform his fados. Rodrigo Costa Félix, Ana Sofia Varela, Camané and Mariza, special guest artists at this performance, also interpret his melodies.

In 1992, his first album, “Um outro olhar” was released, attempting to show how Mário Pacheco’s music reflects a different vision of nostalgia and how longing and sadness complement one another, exploring other musical languages, since fado too is a reflection and sum of various other traditions.

This album, which was a landmark in Portuguese musical history, was followed by “Guitarras do fado”, “Cantar Amália” and “Guitarra portuguesa”.

The portuguese guitar, composition and fado circles continued to inspire him and guide his life.

Mário Pacheco had meanwhile found in “delightful old Alfama”, nestling around the centuries old Cathedral of Lisbon, a place where he established himself, calling it the Clube de Fado and making it a leading centre for fado and artistic creativity.

It is indeed a club, in the sense of a place where people can meet, talk and exchange ideas in a fado ambience.

This place where fado is performed every night does justice to tradition, and from time to time, Mário Pacheco cuts adrift and his guitar journeys into other environments and milieus that, although distant from fado, soon submerge themselves in Alfama melodies.

Mário Pacheco and his guitarra have already appeared at the World Festival of Historic Cities in Kyoto (Japan), at the Córdova Guitar Festival in Spain, at the Mitte Europa Festival in Munich (Germany), with Amália Rodrigues and Roberto Murolo in Naples (Italy) and at the Festival of Literature in Lillehammer in Norway.

The CD records the memory of an open air event in the aristocratic ambience of the Queluz National Palace.

Mário Pacheco invited fadistas to interpret his melodies: Camané, Rodrigo Costa Félix, Ana Sofia Varela and Mariza, four of fado’s leading names, and the musicians Carlos Manuel Proença (classical guitar), Rodrigo Serrão (double bass), Marta Costa Pereira who is reviving the tradition of women playing the guitar, and the Arlindo Silva string quartet.

This is a magical scene. On Robillion’s stone staircase, built in 1764, emotions, feelings and images of life succeed one another as fado is performed in the words of the poets and the inspired music and guitar playing of Mário Pacheco.”

In 2006 Mário Pacheco was honoured with “Best Composer” prize for the Amália Rodrigues Foundation.

Recently the prestigious British Magazine Songlines distinguished “A Música e a Guitarra” as one of the recently best World Music Albums, on “Top of the World”. “

On January 26, 2015, he receives the Commandery of the Order of Infante D. Henrique.



Músicas do Mundo


  • Para Carlos Paredes Mário Pacheco (Mário Pacheco)