Ana Moura New Album Out Today

Portuguese Fado artist Ana Moura today releases her new album, Casa Guilhermina. Named after Moura’s Angolan Grandmother, the album marks a departure for the singer, informed in part by Moura celebrating her bi-racial heritage, self-writing for the first time and collaborating with contemporary Portuguese producers. The results blur Fado tradition with a forward-facing mix of African genres including Semba, Morna & Kizomba, alongside Brazilian Samba and Chora. Collaborators include Afro electro producer Pedro Da Lindha, contemporary Portuguese artist Pedro Mafama, and long-standing Prince guitarist Mike Scott (Ana was a protegée of Prince’s, collaborating with him and visiting Paisley Park many times). A European headline tour will follow in the new year, including London’s Islington Assembly Hall on January 26, 2023.

Since the release of her debut album, Moura has become one of Portugal’s biggest stars, selling over 1 million records around the world. Her fifth album, 2012’s Desfado – produced by Grammy Award-winning Joni Mitchell collaborator, Larry Klein – became the best-selling record of the 2010s by a local act, while her follow-up, 2015’s Moura, became the 4th best-selling album of all time in Portugal. Along the way, she has picked up fans in The Rolling Stones, with whom she has performed, and was a close friend with Prince, who wrote a song for Ana, “Dream of Fire”.

Along with such success came years of touring. “I was so busy that I just couldn’t stop. I always have difficulties saying no to work stuff, so I went into the studio,” she recalls. “I had some songs but they weren’t written by me. They were written by other musicians that I really love, but I didn’t feel like they were about what it was that I wanted to say with my music.”

In the end, Ana put her foot down and everything stopped. At home, she headed to the clubs and parties of Lisbon where she was introduced to younger musicians and producers, many who were merging the rhythms of Angola and Cape Verde with Portuguese soul. It resonated with Ana; “My mum is Angolan and my father is Portuguese, so this was my story, too. I grew up listening to Angolan music and I always felt very close to it, but I had never explored it myself.” When Covid lockdown hit Portugal, Ana invited two of the producers that she had met, Pedro Mafama and Pedro Da Linha, to stay with her and see what magic they could cook up together.

Before this, Ana had also begun to write her own music. “During the period that I stopped working for a bit, I lost my best friend, who was also my cousin,” she says. “I wrote a song to her. That’s how everything started.” That song is ‘Mázia’, a beautiful ode to her cousin, as well as Ana’s own Angolan heritage, which recalls childhood memories of Ana and her cousin dancing to the Angolan music that their grandparents used to play.

Blending modern pop production with the fado tradition and African genres including Semba, Morna & Kizomba, alongside Brazilian Samba and Chora, Casa Guilhermina is unlike anything Ana has created before. “I really wanted to discover something new.” says Ana; “I was fearless.” This attitude is evident all over the record: from the slight brushes of auto-tune on ‘Calunga’ to the watery electronic R&B and Kizomba of ‘Agarra Em Mim’. Another song, ‘Jacarandá’, was written in honor of Prince. “He loved my music but he was always saying, “One day I will listen to your music with a beat,'” Ana says. “I think he would have loved to listen to this rhythm. The lyrics are an homage to what we shared together, and everything that I learned when I spent time with him and that he left in me as a musician and individual.” She also invited Prince’s guitarist, Mike Scott, to play on the track.

Weaving together the threads of her life for this record led Ana to the album’s title, the name of her house, Casa Guilhermina, which is named after her grandmother. “This album has all these different aspects that are part of my life. I thought that it was the best name to describe that because my grandmother gave me that heritage. She was Angolan but her father was Portuguese. She sang fado, she danced to Angolan music and she made me the woman that I am today.”

18 January BERLIN Festaal Kreuzberg
20 January AMSTERDAM Melkweg OZ
26 January LONDON Islington Assembly Hall
27 January PARIS Cafe De La Danse