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Fernando Girao

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His father a notable fado guitarist (Fernando de Freitas was involved in Amalia Rodrigues' first recordings) and his mother a Bahian singer, Fernando Girao has largely taken a middle road through Portuguese music, creating new avenues rather than using the established ones. Moving to Portugal at 17, Girao formed and/or joined a series of influential rock bands: Pentagono, Abralas, and Heavy Band, (with whom he spent 3 years absorbing African influences from the other major Portuguese colony, Angola), as well as a stint in combination with Jorge Palma for Portugal's entry into the 1975 Eurovision contest. Returning to Portugal, Girao released his first solo albums, and Portugal's first independent releases, Brothers of the Sun and Discretamente. After a stint under arrest by the Estado Novo regime, Girao spent time in France, Brazil, and Spain collecting jazz and rock sounds. A major hit with Intelectual do Café in 1982 led further to more ethnic influences with African in 1987 and Indian in 1989. A series of collaborations followed throughout the 90s, and a major anthology in 2003. ~ Adam Greenberg