Autobiography (Liana’s words)

Me in my own words:

I started singing at the age of 9, without neighborhood or family traditions, I was born in Coimbra in the north-center of Portugal on a December night, moved to the outskirts of a Lisbon while still a child.

I started singing without aspirations or dreams.

The first time was on the stage of Lisbon Coliseum in 1989 and, as a memory, I keep a black and white picture of wide open eyes on a mix of fear and surprise.
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Since then Fado has filled my life.

First the nights of vagabond fado (the Portuguese expression for the places where people can sing, even if they do not possess a good voice), a child surrounded by wine glasses and stories of lovers, jealousy and fights. Waking up late and tired for the school morning. Then the amateur nights, already an obligation, but always a passion.

The first friendships, with much older people, who would tell stories of an unknown past, but that would stick to my skin with the label of “fadista” (fado singer).

The waking up late and tired for the school morning, wasn´t as strange physically. Strange was the sensation of becoming only a girl again.

Back in those days, fado had not the same status as today.

To sing fado was to the children, colleagues, motif of mockery, motif of indifference. The fado nights, would bring me the longed tenderness, the natural attention.

For its deepness, sadness and vastness of feelings, fado is not an infants song, however it was always the most melancholic fados that would captivate this child.

Fado was the balm to the absence, the pillar to achieve strength, the way to life.

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But from the fado sung in improvised stages on the back of a barrow, of the nights sleeping on the benches under the candle light, of the traditional fados, the natural step would be the exploring of other flights.

However, the child had become an adolescent, the grace was lost, it was time to prove much more. Absorbed for many years the secrets of the popular and ancient fado, the search for something less conventional was starting to grow on me. The choices would go to non traditional fados, to poems inspired in another form. The search for a new path was taking form.

But Fado, for the publishing editors in the end of the 90s, didn´t sell. Was not a good investment. Because of it, came the experience in pop, as a search for an alternative, inside a job that in Portugal is only considered an hobby.

Despite brief, the experience that made me winner of the RTP Song Contest, leaved me with an extraordinary memory and a deep friendship with the poet Luana Norte.

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But fado had long stopped to be a choice. That fado that had opened me the world doors and that had teached me to love it, had stopped being a music, had started being my life.

The own definition of the word fado, which means destiny, had taken a definite sense.

It doesn´t matter how many adventures, how many discoveries of other meanings, of other musics, fado is still today the sweet prison for which I always returns, voluntarily, sometimes in anguish, sometimes with faith, but always irremediably as passionate as wondering at the age of eleven amongst shades of smoke at three o’clock in the morning.

Today with a different vision. More adult, obviously, more critic, but always for love.

What would change my path, though, was the musical “Amália”. The chance of holding my feelings, my chant and transform them on somebody else´s, was my first work as an actress.

Without any kind of preparation for the much life was about to change, I recreated the role of Amália with the greatest dedication. Studied it, gave it a life of it´s own, made it my own, and in the extreme late ingenuity of my 20 years, let myself embark on an unexpected trip, both artistic and personally speaking.

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The knowledge of the backstage, during five years, teached me a valuable lesson of life. Amongst great friendships and great deceptions, I grew has a human being.

To the fame glimpse itself, if in the beginning, as any novelty, (I´m curious), dazzled me, I can say today that I became immune to it.

The following two years were of restart. Relearn to become Liana again, relearn the concept of solo concert.

Making mistakes, as all who searches, but basing myself on the immortal passion that I carry with me and the being faithful to what I believe, as the essence to accomplish dreams.

Joining Stockholm Lisboa Project was motivational all the way. I had never learnt how to be a part of a group. It was only with SLP that I found out what it is to be on tour, living together 24 hours a day with people that you did not choose as friends on the first place, that you only met and got together for music purposes, but that because of those strong bounds, because of the same passion, the same dream, do become road friends in the way.

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With SLP I got very good international reviews, good festivals, nice stages, but more then that, the permission of being myself, able and gently compulsed to improvise, to fail and success without negative consequences. To learn.

I recognise, only now, that through my path I was as adventurous as frightened. Much more ready to adventure myself on the most difficult things then to invest on the ones that could be more certain.

That was what happened in England for 3 years. I found myself managing a restaurant, influenced by the Portuguese ideals of safe jobs, just because it was there and with my ideas, I could do something for it.

I am proud to have contributed to dignify the Portuguese culture in London, showing it in very honorable ways to foreigners, but I have to admit it was hard to keep fighting a closed Portuguese community, whom refused to widen ideas. So when I though I was running away of unconsciousness in Portugal, I’ve actually learnt even more deeply how hard it is to be a patriot.

Back in Portugal, back in the beloved homeland.

Even if whenever and whatever I am in the world, I am always describing Portugal, teaching about Portugal, showing Portugal, singing Portugal. That is what my life has been about.

Beside the music and the country, there are some other passions though.

– My friends (category in which I include my family)

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– Studying.
I am passionate about learning. That is why I’ve decided to rather later in life (at 27) start my degree. Surprisingly for me ending it with so good results.
I’ve done a degree in Tourism Management which would be an area I’d like to be involved in, if only I had more time.

There are just so many ideas to help Portugal embrace all its touristic potential and with it help the economy…

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– Reading is a well cared gift that I cuddle since childhood, where the unreal characters of a book, would play the part of real friends.
Time after, also the cinema, followed that pleasure, of the necessity of fulfilling the days with fantasy.

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Nevertheless, the reality attaches itself to my skin, telling me true stories of pain and conquers.

And it is on the search of more humanity, I´m an utopic, that I cooperate with some associations:

Animal – to whom I owe the information that made me be a proud vegetarian

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http://www.animal.org.pt/

Helpo – through which I sponsor children in Mozambique, first Amelia and now Altino.

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http://www.helpo.pt/

And perhaps, because of the fragility of that other Amélia, my grandmother, who in the end of life was just a number in the hospital, who in the end of life was just a very small number on the social security, I got sensitized to volunteer for elderly people.

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My grandmother Amélia was also the motif to continue studying and change the area to Social Policy for my Master at ISCSP – Technical University of Lisbon.
For the post graduation I was proud to be the best student of the class.
Focusing on the elderly theme, my thesis is being a research to improve conditions on ageing on three focus – health, financials and social relation networks.

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The numerous travelling I´ve done so far, had made me conscious of different worlds inside the planet I inhabit. The multi variety of cultures enchants my constant will of learning, and hopefully teaches me a posture of respect and will of understanding and solidarity as the only possible way for an efficient globalization.

Living in London, and that was the valuable part of it, with the friends I’ve known of multiple cultures and religions has forged in me those old convictions, with an ever bigger certainty.

My singing, my performances, will certainly give into my will of allying the chant to the causes I pursue.

After all, those are the things that command my life.

And after all, my singing will always be my peaceful flag.

Being lucky, that despite the pessimism is a part of me as a characteristic of my Portuguese condition (Fado), I also inherited the fearless conqueror Portuguese spirit.

Thank you for taking the time to read…me.

Credits: Dinis Muacho

Credits: Dinis Muacho