Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Carlos Paredes

Carlos Paredes (February 16, 1925–July 23, 2004) was a portuguese guitar player, born in Coimbra, son to the equally famous Artur Paredes. He is credited with popularising the medium internationally during the 20th century. He was known as the "Man with a Thousand Fingers".

He began playing at the age of 4 and started his music career at the age of eleven. He performed with many other artists including Charlie Haden and also wrote compositions for fado singer Amalia Rodrigues. He wrote a number of film scores and received particular recognition for the 1971 film Verdes Anos ("Tender Years"). In 2000, the string quartet known as Kronos Quartet recorded two versions of Verdes Anos and Romance nº 1, from the first Carlos Paredes album, Guitarra Portuguesa, recorded in 1969 -1970.

During the 1950s and 1960s, being member of the Portuguese Communist Party, he was imprisoned for opposing the Portuguese dictatorship, some of this time spent in solitary confinement. He would walk around his cell pretending to play music which led some prison inmates to believe he was insane (in actual fact he was doing compositions in his head).

When he returned to his working environment in the Hospital, relates one of his colleagues, Rosa Semião, he was deeply grieved for he was denounced by a colleague of his. "He felt betrayed, but even so, when he crossed one of his traitors, he didn't fail to greet him, showing an enormous capacity to forgive."

When the political captives were released, they were hailed like heroes. He has always refused this heroic status, attributed by the people of Portugal. He never said much about his time in prison, except that "Many people have suffered worse than I."

He suffered from myelopathy, a nerve disorder that prevented him from playing for the last eleven years of his life. He died in a nursing home from kidney failure.