The Portrait of Dreams

Joana Almeida

With fado, I now use my voice to encourage everyone to express their feelings, in a society that still too often sees them as weakness.

1. Bio

Musician and fado singer, she is one of the most recent and popular rising stars. A graduate of the Conservatory (piano), she started her career almost accidentally: during a local festival, her performance was so intense that someone in the audience filmed her and sent the recording to a TV station, which contacted her to participate in the 2nd National Fado Grand Prix of RTP 1, which she won. From there, she took on a string of engagements in fado houses and major Portuguese festivals. Fado became her profession.

2. The power of a dream

I didn’t really have a dream as a child, at the time I was too busy trying to find a way to survive bullying. That’s why I decided to enter the Conservatory, I needed at least an instrument to give vent to what I was feeling, as I was so insecure by then that I had stopped expressing my emotions. In hindsight, maybe my dream was to regain the courage to speak, to be in public. And if I look at it this way, the strength of that dream was even greater than my awareness. I was singing because of my extreme need to express myself, I didn’t have a singing career in mind.

3. My journey into real beauty

It is a journey I go on every time I sing, there is a unique vibration that is released into the air when people open their hearts to emotion, you can almost touch it. And there is an even more intense vibration when these emotions have their roots in a story of suffering. It is a healing path I am familiar with and I see it happening when the stories I sing overlap with someone’s life. It is cathartic, it is liberating and it teaches us that even saudade, if we want it, can be a bridge to beauty. Because there is no beauty more authentic than the one we experience when we take back the space of our own feelings.

4. What I learned and won’t let go

Feelings are not an obstacle, they are strength, they do not detract from professionalism, they add to it. In every sphere. In fado we tell our story freely, it is there, ready to bring out what is most affecting our soul. We should all have our own personal fado. There is still too much intolerance of those who express their feelings. Too often sensitivity is mistaken for weakness. But we are strong, we are so strong that we can cry, get angry, fall in love and still, at the same time, achieve our goals. That is my wish, for we women to increase this awareness and for society, little by little, to change its perspective.

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