Music: You Ain't Been Blue

FOLKSINGERS

In Portugal, Amália Rodrigues is considered the world's greatest singer. When she sings on television, theaters empty; there are fist fights in the cafés, and worried queues leading to the squares that have public television sets. At 43, she is everything to Lisbon that Edith Piaf was to Paris, and because she is a singer of fados, she is also considered a liberator, a philosopher, an antagonist, a revolutionary.

She is, in fact, a kind of savior. When she became a fadista in the late '30s, the fados were in bad flower because of...