Carlos Paredes – The Master of Portuguese Guitar

Carlos Paredes was born in Coimbra on February 16, 1925, son of the famous composer and guitarist, master Artur Paredes, grandson and great-grandson of guitarists, Gonçalo Paredes and António Paredes, began studying Portuguese guitar at the age of four with his father.

In 1934, his family moved to Lisbon and Paredes dedicated himself under the guidance of the father, completely to the guitar.

Carlos Paredes in 1949 began a regular collaboration in a program of Artur Paredes in the National Broadcaster and finished the secondary studies in a private college. He did not finish high school and enrolled in the singing lessons of the Portuguese Musical Youth, becoming, in 1949, administrative officer of the Hospital de São José.

In 1958, he was arrested by PIDE for opposing Salazar, accused of belonging to the Portuguese Communist Party. During this time he paced the cell pretending to play music, which led his fellow prisoners to think he would be crazy – in fact, what he was doing was composing songs in his head.

In 1962, he was invited by the director Paulo Rocha to compose the soundtrack of the film Greens Years: “Many young people came from other lands to try their luck in Lisbon. This had a great human interest to me and inspired many of my songs. They were completely marginalized young men, maids, shopkeepers. They were precisely those people I deeply sympathized with, for their simplicity. ” Carlos Paredes received special recognition by “The Green Years”.

He played with many artists, including Charlie Haden, Adriano Correia de Oliveira and Carlos do Carmo. He wrote many songs for films and in 1967 he recorded his first LP “Guitarra Portuguesa”.

His passion for the guitar was so great that he once said that his guitar was lost on a plane trip and he confessed to a friend he “thought of committing suicide.”

On June 10, 1992, he was made Commander of the Military Order of Sant’Iago da Espada.

A disease of the central nervous system prevented him from playing for the last 11 years of his life. He died on July 23, 2004 at the Nossa Nossa Senhora da Saúde Foundation in Lisbon, and National Luto was decreed.

Carlos Paredes was one of the main responsible for the dissemination and popularity of the Portuguese guitar, being also a great composer. It is considered as one of the unique symbols of Portuguese culture. In addition to the influences of his ancestors – father, grandfather and uncle, having been the father, Artur Paredes, the great guitar master of Coimbra – Paredes maintained a coimbrão musical style, his guitar was of Coimbra and the own tuning was of the Fado of Coimbra. His life in Lisbon marked him and inspired many of his themes and compositions. He was known as The master of the Portuguese guitar or The man of the thousand fingers.

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