Lena d’Água

Helena Maria de Jesus Águas, known as Lena d’Água (Lisbon, June 16, 1956), is a Portuguese singer and author.
She was born in Lisbon on June 16, 1956, the first child of José Águas, the central striker and captain of the two-time European champion Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the Portuguese national football team and sister of the also former Benfica footballer Rui Águas. .

The first time she went on stage was in 1974 at a meeting of residents of Bairro de Santa Cruz, in Benfica, when the friend who was performing to close the session called her to whistle the flute melody of the theme “Can someone be who is not” by Sérgio Godinho. Her unexpected debut followed, when she accompanied herself on guitar, to sing the theme “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, by Jacques Brel.

She was one of the first women in Portugal to join, as a vocalist, a rock band: the Beatnicks, a Progressive Rock musical group based in Amadora. His debut in the band took place at the Liceu de Sintra graduation party, in May 1976. Two years of live concerts around the country followed, with the band traveling to the Azores in July 1977 to participate in the Azores Musical Festival, on Terceira Island. The last performance with the band took place in March 1978, the night the Beatnicks performed the 1st part of Jim Capaldi’s concert, at the Coliseu dos Recreios in Lisbon. She didn’t get to participate in the single that the band recorded that year.

Shortly after, she was invited to join the choir of the Gemini group in their participation in the RTP Song Contest and accompanied them to Eurovision in Paris with the song “Dai Li Dou” 1978. for established artists. It is also in this year that she participates in the recording of the album “Ascenção e Queda” by the group Petrus Castrus.

She had completed the Primary Teaching Course in the summer of 1978 and at the end of that year she joined the “Oficina de Teatro e Comunicação”, the independent theater company with which she staged the children’s play “Ou Isto Ou Aquilo”. The staging, by José Caldas, of poems by Cecília Meirelles, had props and costumes by Dalton Salem Assef and choreography by Águeda Sena. Lena d’Água participated in that show as an actress and was the musical director. “Or this or that” was presented in rooms and gyms in several poor neighborhoods on the outskirts of Lisbon, as part of the cultural promotion campaigns that took place at the time in Portugal. The songs in the play, all written by Luís Pedro Fonseca, would be recorded in 1992.

In 1979, she recorded a single with the themes “O Nosso Livro” (Florbela Espanca) and “Cantiga da Babá” (Cecília Meirelles), both poems set to music by Luís Pedro Fonseca.

His first full-length album turns out to be “Que é Coisa Qual é Ela?” which was recorded in late 1978. It is a disc for children that includes riddles by Maria João Duarte, set to music by Luís Pedro Fonseca and José da Ponte. The album would be edited by Rossil in 1979.

80s

She participates in the RTP da Canção Festival with the song “Olá Cega Rega”, written by Paulo de Carvalho, but which she should not be singing either. With Luís Pedro Fonseca and José da Ponte, she founded the band Salada de Frutas, in 1980, in which she is the main vocalist. The album “Sem Açúcar” was released in November of that year and featured the theme “Como Se Eu Fosse Tua”. In May 1981, the single “Robot/Armagedom” was released, which had a direct entry to the 1st place of the TOP 20 of sales and was one of the great successes of that year. In September 1981, due to differences of various kinds, Lena d’Agua and Luís Pedro Fonseca left the group. They soon begin to prepare new songs and look for new musicians for the formation they would name Atlântida. In October they signed a contract with the publisher Valentim de Carvalho and in November the single “Vígaro Cá Vígaro Lá” was released.
The album “Perto de Ti”, from 1982, was produced by the Englishman Robin Geoffrey Cable, who revolutionized the working methods used until then in Portuguese studios. The album sold close to 18,000 copies, narrowly missing the gold mark – at that time the silver mark was reached with 10,000 units sold and the gold mark with 20,000.

1983 is the year of the ecological single “Jardim Zoológico/Papalagui”. In 1984, the album “Lusitânia” was released, again produced by Robin Geoffrey Cable, which also reached the silver mark. This album features the theme that will come to be considered one of the singer’s ex-libris, “Sempre Que o Amor Me Quiser”, created by Luís Pedro Fonseca.

In 1984, the book “A Mar Te” was released, a collection of poems from the singer’s youth, edited by Ulmeiro.

In 1986, she moved from Valentim de Carvalho to the CBS publishing house for which she recorded the album “Terra Prometida”, produced by Robin Geoffrey Cable and Luís Pedro Fonseca. “Dou-te um doce” is the first single and will be the first Portuguese music video to air on Europa TV, in the program “Countdown”, by Adam Curry. It was also a silver disc.

António Emiliano arranged and produced “Aguaceiro”, the 1987 album. It was a silver record. On this disc was recorded the song “Vamos Além”, by António Variações. She went to Brazil where she participated in the show “Nau de Paz”.

In 1989, the album “Tu Aqui” is released, which includes the participation of pianist Mário Laginha in the song “Essa Mulher” celebrated by Elis Regina. Also noteworthy is the recording of five unpublished songs by António Variações. The album was produced by Guilherme Inês and Zé da Ponte.

90s

In 1992, he terminated his contract with Sony Music (ex-CBS), as the publisher did not want to record “Ou Isto Ou Aquilo”, an album of songs by Luís Pedro Fonseca composed for the musical piece staged in 1978 by José Caldas from of poems by Cecília Meirelles for children and in which Lena d’Água participated as actress, musician and musical director. This disc would be edited by Edisom.

She recorded the song “Cantiga de Embalar II” by Vitinho (in duet with Paulo de Carvalho) published in the musical collection “Vitinho presents… os Êxitos da Pequenada”.

In 1993, at the invitation of conductor Pedro Osório, he joined Helena Vieira and Rita Guerra to assemble a musical production that covered great and popular themes created all over the world in the 20th century, “As Canções do Século”, a concert that which was recorded live with an orchestra at Casino Estoril in November 1993. This show would be presented throughout the country and islands, always with great success, until the end of 1999.

In 1996 she would perform with the popular music group Gallandum singing in the Mirandese language, in shows in the Azores – in Angra do Heroísmo on Terceira Island and at the Maré de Agosto Festival in Santa Maria.

With Brigada Victor Jara he recorded – on the 1999 album “Novas Vos Trago” – the theme “Parto Em Terras Distantes (2nd Version)” – and “Moda do Pastor” on the album “Ceia Louca” – (Zeca Afonso Award 2006)

Also in 1999, the tribute concert to Billie Holiday premiered at Hot Clube de Portugal, which he would present until 2004.

2000s

Between 1999 and 2004, he created a concert dedicated to Billie Holiday’s repertoire, which premiered in the mythical hall of the Hot Clube de Portugal and would present until 2004 in cinemas all over the country. Between 2001 and 2003 he presented the tribute to Elis Regina, again premiered in the basement of the Hot Clube and which was performed on the stage of the Teatro Olga Cadaval in Sintra. It was at this stage that he deepened his musical knowledge in contact on stage with the excellent musicians of the Portuguese jazz scene.

In 2000, she recorded with Jorge Palma the song “Laura”, the main song of the SIC telefilm “A Noiva”, included in the album “Perdidamente, as Canções de João Gil”. Also in that year, Lena d’Água collaborated on the Angolan group SSP’s version of their iconic song “Sempre Que o Amor Me Quiser”. She is going to Angola to participate in a group show in Luanda. She went to Mexico where she represented Portugal at the OTI Festival, in Acapulco, with the song “Mar Portugal” by José Jorge Letria and José Marinho.

In 2002 she participated in TVI’s Big Brother Famosos 2. In 2005, with arrangements and musical direction by Bernardo Moreira (on double bass), Marco Franco on drums, André Fernandes on guitar and João Moreira on trumpet, Lena d’Água recorded the CD/DVD “Lena d’Água” at the first take. ALWAYS, live at the Hot Clube de Portugal”, which would be published in May 2007 by EMI Portugal with the quality seal of the prestigious Blue Note.

In 2006, she produced the party-concert to celebrate her 50th birthday, at Cabaret Maxime, in Lisbon. In this show in three acts – Billie Holiday, Elis Regina and Lena d’Água, the singer performed with three different formations of musicians. The show was recorded on DVD but not edited.

The 1982 album “Perto de Ti” was reissued, for the first time on CD, in 2008, by the label iPlay in the “Tempo do Vinil” collection, and also includes the two singles – «Vígaro cá, vígaro lá/Labyrinth» , from 1981 and «Jardim Zoológico/ Papalagui», from 1983.

Between 2009 and 2010, the series of interviews that will give rise to the documentary «Bela Adormecida», about the singer’s life, is made.

The eldest daughter of José Águas, the unforgettable football glory of Sport Lisboa e Benfica and the Portuguese national team between 1950 and 1963, Helena wrote the book «José Águas, o Meu Pai Hérói», which was released in 2011 by Oficina do Livro, from the Leya group.

Lena d’Água returned to the studio in 2013 with the band “Rock’n’Roll Station”, to record 13 recreations of her classics, including “Sempre Que O Amor Me Quiser”, “Robot”, “Dou -te Um Doce”, “Vígaro Cá, Vígaro Lá”, “Demagogia”, “Perto de Ti” and “Beco”. The album, “Carrossel”, was published by “Farol” in June 2014.

She participated in the Festival RTP da Canção 2017, with the song “Nunca Me Fui Although”, by Pedro da Silva Martins, having been qualified for the final and ranked seventh in the final.

She participates in the soundtrack of the RTP 1986 series, by Nuno Markl, as a performer in the opening song “Electrificados”.

In May 2019, the album “Desalmamente” was released, composed entirely of originals written by Pedro da Silva Martins and produced by Benjamim, Mariana Ricardo, Sérgio Nascimento and Francisca Cortesão. “Queda Para Voar” and “Desalmamente” were other songs planned for participation in the 2017 RTP Festival and which now appear on disc.

Source: musica-portuguesa.com

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