bids final farewell to its fado queen
LISBON, Portugal (Reuters) -- To the mournful strumming of fado guitars,
grieving Portugal said an emotional farewell Friday to Amalia Rodrigues,
folk singer who rose from poverty to became a national icon.
During a state funeral held in Lisbon's Estrela Basilica, 15 guitarists
one of the queen of fado's best-known songs, "Amalia" that had been written
especially for her.
President Jorge Sampaio headed the mourners, who included leading figures
from political and cultural life, while outside tens of thousands of people
the half-mile route from the church to the Prazeres cemetery.
The death Wednesday of the fado singer has cast a long shadow over
campaigning for Sunday's general election, forcing parties to limit their
Possessing a dark, tormented beauty, Amalia began singing in the taverns
Lisbon in the 1930s and went on to popularize fado, a haunting lament that
part of Portuguese culture, in many parts of the world.
Actor Anthony Quinn was among international personalities to send flowers.
Amalia made hundreds of records and numerous films and was still singing
and packing theaters in Portugal well into her 70s.
With her natural sadness and working class simplicity, she captured the
pessimism and longing of fado, which takes its name from the local word
fate and is Portugal's version of the blues.
"Amalia Rodrigues was the voice of the Portuguese soul," Prime Minister
Antonio Guterres said.
At the end of the funeral service, her clear and melodic voice was heard
singing another of a her most famous songs, "O Grito (The Cry)," which
prompted long applause from mourners inside the basilica.
Soccer legend Eusebio, like Amalia, one of the few people to be known
throughout Portugal by their first names, was the last person to place
on the singer's coffin before it was placed in the funeral car to be driven
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