Fernando Farinha

Fado Singers - Last Updated December 03, 2011
Fernando Tavares Farinha was born in Barreiro on December 20, 1929, although his identity card states the date of May 5, 1929.

When he was 8 years old his family moved to the Bica district in Lisbon.

In 1937, - at age 9 – he begins singing fado and enters a competition as representative of the Bica quarter, thus gaining his nickname - "Miúdo da Bica" (Bica Kid). This competition was held at Verbena de Santa Catarina, which was owned by the producer José Miguel.

His father died when Fernando was 11 years old and with the help of the producer José Miguel and a special permit he becomes a professional fado singer, thus helping his family financially. This producer hired him to sing at various local associations - Alto do Pina, Ajuda, Santo Amaro, and others – and he joins the cast of his first fado house (casa de fado), the “Café Mondego” on Rua da Barroca.

His first record was released in 1940 and included “Meu Destino” and “Sempre Linda”. The following year – 1941 – he will enter his first Portuguese vaudeville theatre (teatro de revista), the “Boa vai ela”, at Teatro Maria Vitória. Many years later – in 1963 - he will appear once more in one of these plays, “Sal e Pimenta”.

After appearing on several stages and releasing his first record, Fernando Farinha is back on the fado house’s circuit: “Retiro da Severa”, “Solar da Alegria”, “Café Latino” or “Café Luso”, among others.

At age 23 Fernando Farinha does his first Brazilian tour and stays in the country for four months to play at “Taverna Lusitana”, Rádio Record, and TV Tupi in São Paulo. Upon his return to Portugal in 1951 he joins the cast of “Adega Mesquita”, where he will work for 11 years.

In 1960 he wins the competition "A Voz Mais Portuguesa de Portugal ", and celebrates his artistic 25th anniversary at Coliseu dos Recreios, in Lisbon, and at Palácio de Cristal, in Oporto.

In 1961 he comes second in the Rei da Rádio competition, the following year he is awarded the Taça Rei da Rádio, and in 1963 the Óscar da Casa da Imprensa for best fado singer.

Fernando Farinha starred in his autobiographic film "O Miúdo da Bica ", a feature film directed by Constantino Esteves that premieres at Cinema Éden in July 1963. In 1964, that same director releases the film "A Última Pega", starring Leónia Mendes, Fernando Farinha, Júlia Buisel, Cunha Marques, and Vicente da Câmara.

In 1965 he is invited to sing for the Portuguese emigrants in Paris, and later that same year he toured Canada and the United States having returned again due to the huge success he had in North America. Throughout the following decades Fernando Farinha will perform essentially for the Portuguese communities in Europe and North America and do shows in Belgium, France, Germany, United States, and Canada.

Apart from popularising such themes as “O Miúdo da Bica” or “Fado das Trincheiras”, Fernando Farinha also composed many themes that are registered at the Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores.

“Belos Tempos”, “Eu ontem e hoje”, “Um Fado a Marceneiro”, “Estações de Amor” or “Cinco Bairros” are some of his greatest hits. Many of these themes were sung by other interpreters, namely “O teu olhar”, by Carlos Ramos; “Lugar vazio”, by Tony de Matos and Hermínia Silva; “Fado Rambóia” and “Já não tens coração”, by Manuel de Almeida; or “Isto é Fado”, by Fernanda Maria, just to name a few.

Fernando Farinha also enjoyed drawing caricatures and used to draw his colleagues and co-workers and offer them the portraits.

Fernando Farinha died on February 12, 1988.MF