Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 09:41:21 +0100
Subject: Jose Afonso
I would be grateful if someone could email me with biographical
information on Jose Afonso, including what I understand was a
tragic, lingering death. Also, I would like to know what the
song Grandola Vila Morena refers to. Thank you for you help.
Philip Ward, Sheffield Socialist Choir
The song goes as this:
Grandola Vila Morena
Terra da fraternidade
O Povo e quem mais ordena
Grandola tanned village
Land of fraternity
Where the people is in command
Grandola is the name of a village located in Alentejo in
the south-center of Portugal. Why "tanned"? Because
Alentejo is a sunny region where most of the people live
from agriculture. Why Alentejo? Because is arguably the
most impoverished region of Portugal.
Follows a brief and unpolished outline of the biography of
Jose' Afonso based on the liner notes of the CD "Cantigas
do Maio" (which are in Portuguese) and also on some scarce
general knowledge I have.
29 (2 August) He was born in Aveiro
29-38 He spent his childhood in Aveiro and in the
Portuguese colonies of Angola and Mozambique.
40-52 He lived mostly in Coimbra studying in the Liceu
Normal D.Joao III (secondary school) and in the University
of Coimbra where he took a degree in Philosophy. He joined
two choirs in Coimbra: "Orfeao Academico de Coimbra" and
"Tuna Academica de Coimbra". He began to stand up as a
unusual and innovator singer in the style of "Fado de
53-55 Did his military service.
56-63 Worked as a teacher in several secondary schools
across the Country. He never lost connection with his
friends in Coimbra where he recorded his first album in 58.
From 1960 there was a period of crisis in Coimbra:
"free-thinkers" such as Jose' Afonso, Carlos Candal, Manuel
Alegre, Adriano Correia de Oliveira and others openly
contested the regime.
64-67 He and his family moved to Mozambique where he worked
as a teacher.
68-74 Returned to Portugal where the Government dismissed
him from teaching. He survived giving private lessons. His
(clandestine) political activity increased and he dedicated
to composition and singing and recorded several albums in
74-77 He lived the "Portuguese revolution" intensely,
performed in hundreds of shows and political meetings
across the Country and also abroad: in Brazil, France,
Germany, Mozambique and Angola. He was reinstated as a
87 (23 February 1987) He died after a long and slowly
wearing disease that he successfully managed to hide from
his friends during long years.
His recorded work is widely available in Portugal. There
are 10 different CD's around, maybe more, all available at
low price (2000 escudos). I only own "Cantigas de Maio" and
the sound quality is very good. The label is Movieplay
(MOVIPLAY PORTUGUESA, SA, R. Alfredo Guisado, 382-B, 5.,
1500 Lisboa, Portugal)
Artur Miguel A.V.Dias (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dep.Informatica/FCT/UNL, Quinta da Torre, 2825 Monte de Caparica, Portugal