The Portuguese Guitar is a string musical instrument, commonly linked to the history of Fado. Created during the late 18th century, little is known about the origin of this musical instrument, since there is not enough documentation to prove it. Made of wood and other noble materials, it is made of 12 strings, divided in pairs.
The Guitarra Portuguesa can be divided into three types - the Guitarra de Coimbra, the Guitarra de Lisboa and the Guitarra do Porto - differing mainly in the manufacturing practices. While the Guitarra de Lisboa is the smallest of the three, featuring a rounded case and snail-shaped head, the Guitarra da Coimbra is larger, sharper in shape, and has a teardrop-shaped inlaid head. The shape and construction of the Guitar from Porto is similar to that of Lisbon.
In the same way that Fado is made with the voice of its interpreter, the sound of the guitar is also made with those who play it. We leave some of the most known names in this environment.
Armando Augusto Salgado Freire
Better known as Armandinho, Armando Freire is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Fado. He was born in 1891 and at the age of 14 began his training in Portuguese Guitar. In the same year he performed for the first time at the Trinas Theater, where he began his career. During his life he participated in several compositions, artistic tours and interpretations, which eventually became classics.
Martinho d'Assunção was born in 1914, in Lisbon. He studied music at an early age, and in 1927 he turned his attention to the Portuguese Guitar. Until then he had studied other instruments such as the viola, the mandolin and the violin. During his career he played in several national and international stages, alongside names such as Armandinho, Ercília Costa and João de Mata.
João de Mata
Guitarist and poet, João de Mata has played alongside names such as Armandinho and Martinho d'Assunção during his career. He was part of the Fado Artistic Group, with whom he toured Africa. Besides his career as a Guitarrist, he was the director of the Canção Nacional Newspaper between 1927 and 1928, and editor and writer of the Guitarra de Portugal newspaper until the year of his death.
Jaime Santos was born in 1909 into a humble family. At the age of 12 he already played the viola, violin and mandolin. Years later he learned to play the Portuguese guitar and started his career. Throughout his life he played alongside great names in Fado, including Georgino de Sousa (his father-in-law), Armandinho, Martinho d'Assunção and Amália Rodrigues.
Raul Nery made his debut on the Portuguese Guitar when he was only 9 years old. He quickly became known in the music world and even accompanied Amália Rodrigues in several of her national and international tours. At the peak of his career he became an Engineering Technician Agent, a profession he would later pursue along with his music. He retired early from his career as a guitarist, but left his mark on hundreds of recordings by some of the most important names in Fado.