New Album, "Canções de Ninar para o Apocalipse"

Dear friends, 

Our most recent album, “Canções de Ninar para o Apocalipse,” was released at the beginning of 2016 and is now available nearly everywhere one can download music... iTunes, Spotify, etc.

 Thank you, 



Judith and Holofernes is a band from San Francisco who play an American variation of traditional Portuguese fado music (“fado” translates as “fate”). Like fado, Judith and Holofernes’music is sad and melancholic, evoking feelings of sorrow, futility and longing – what the Portuguese refer to as saudade. The four members of the band come from indie/punk roots and started playing fado music after a pilgrimage to Lisbon, where they were acquainted with the mixture of wine, tragedy and Catholic guilt that the time honored fadistas had perfected. 

The band owes as much to its collective conviviality as it does to its despair. The sleepy town the band members called home suffered a rash of suicides; Judith and Holofernes lost three friends to the noose. Each member dealt with their guilt differently: drink, escape, sex, isolation. Collectively, they set it all against a backdrop of old-world melody, making them stronger together than they are individually. The music is as much about sadness as it as about survival, as much about the suicides as it is about the everyday life—the afterward. The music of Judith and Holofernes is not lighthearted—it is sincere—and that sincerity, that genuine quality, is what makes their music so engaging.

The name of the band references a biblical story of a beautiful Jewess, Judith, who seduces one of Nebuchadnezzar’s invading generals, Holofernes. After getting him drunk, Judith beheaded and de-balled Holofernes, then marched into the city with the severed head, empowering the Jews to defeat their enemy. This narrative of sex, betrayal, revenge and death—similar to the fado music of Lisbon—is echoed by the band.

- Bambouche, Vanguard Squad 

Contact Judith and Holofernes: fadocore [at]




CD Baby


Throw Your Skinny Body Down - Video by Marlene Angeja

Here is a video from our friend, Marlene Angeja, using a Judith and Holofernes song. To check out more of Marlene's work, please visit

Throw Your Skinny Body Down (Judith&Holofernes) from marleneangeja on Vimeo.

MP3's - Judith and Holofernes

Check out the mp3's below for a little taste of what Judith and Holofernes do.


New York Times - March 25, 2011
By Larry Rohter
In the USA, where there are significant Portuguese immigrant communities in New England and the Central Valley of California, experiments with fado (music) are also occurring. The band Judith & Holofernes plays a style that has been dubbed fadocore, a mixture of fado (sung in English) with punk and indie-rock elements.

The Fader (#43)
By Nick Barat
Review of “Abraça a Tristeza”

This delicate, awesome record came out this past fall on Brooklyn micro-indie Vanguard Squad (on both CD and handmade, letterpressed vinyl), and while the music more than deserved a mention then 'Abraça a Tristeza' makes a far better winter listen. The story goes like this: following a pilgrimage to Lisbon, a group of punk expats in San Francisco recorded a batch of songs inspired by the 'wine, tragedy and Catholic guilt' of traditional Portuguese fado music. The results are equal parts acoustic 12-string, droning electric guitar, wavering male/female vocals, and sad sack lyrics--not so melancholy that you want to throw yourself off the Williamsburg Bridge but dark enough to really get into it on the walk over, y'know?

Shredding Paper – 8/28/05
By Mona
Review of “Dairymen and Festa Queens”

Originating somewhere between the Central Valley and San Francisco, this trio describes themselves as "Fadocore" - a mix of indie rock and Portugese folk music. If you're anything like me, you don't know what the hell that means, so I'll keep this review simple. The lyrics are full of the kind of heartbreaking truths that make you wanna sit next to your speakers and really listen, rewinding back when you miss a line. Even if you don't pay attention to lyrics, each track on this album reminds you just how lovely depression can be. In a nutshell, this is a fucking excellent debut, and you should do yourself a favor and check these guys out.

SF WEEKLY - 6/28/06
By Hiya Swanhuyser
Pre-Show Write-Up, “The Rock of Fate”

If you know your Bible, you know how cheery the story of Judith and Holofernes is; the former cuts off the latter's head while he's passed out drunk. Not very sporting, Judy! The local rock band named after the unhappy couple isn't really what you'd call "upbeat," either, what with songs called "Throw Your Skinny Body Down" (an unapologetic call to suicide) or the chipper "From the Bottom of a Well." The quartet has something else in common with the biblical duo: Michelangelo rendered grand portraits of the grisly tale, and the group's lush arrangements -- full of layered guitars and stylish vocal harmonies -- are also sad but irresistibly beautiful. Describing itself as "fadocore," both to honor and to tweak its debt to Portuguese folk music, the act's swaying tempos and depressing yet catchy choruses may have you clutching wilted flowers and turning your tear-filled eyes skyward -- but inside you'll be singing.

SF WEEKLY – 1/30/07
Pre-Show Write-Up

The half-Britpop, half-Portuguese folk song influences of local band Judith and Holofernes are exactly balanced, adding up to an aching, profanity-laced, Old World sound. Ballads of lonely death, laced with 12-string guitarra, give way to raucous drink-and-fight anthems on the new album Abraça a Tristeza; a faint psychedelia hovers over it all. These musicians are virtuoso, with a give-and-take between the male and female vocalists that's romantic, slutty, inebriated, and soaked in the traditions of Portuguese fado. The quartet started calling its music "fadocore" as a joke, but how else to explain its love of ancient music from Lisbon as well as its normal, healthy adoration of Morrissey?

West Coast Performer
By Danilo Markov

Review of “Matança”

From the “giving you what you never knew you’d wanted” department comes Judith and Holofernes, a Bay Area group specializing in a unique blend of indie rock and fado, a high-drama style of balladry native to Portugal. Unsurprisingly, the band pulls more from their paternal indie side than from their Portuguese mama, but their sound does the latter a fair amount of justice. Thankfully avoiding distorted guitars and big dumb rock drums, the band sticks close to traditional fado instrumentation, with male and female vocals, guitar, bass, and a 12-string guitarra.

Dos de Rosa’s vocals, sometimes reminiscent of Big Star-era Alex Chilton with a head cold, stay modest but inviting throughout, straying from the melodramatic delivery of most fadistas. Though the songs are all acoustic without any percussion, the somber tone as well as a bit of spaciness in the production keep things from getting too twee. Even as Tracy Hobbs la-la-la’s away in “It’s Harder to Break a Habit Than a Promise,” the EP’s best track and also the most fado-like, one is still more driven to mourn than to frolic.

Though the band is probably wise to avoid the soaring, weepy vocalizing of Amalia Rodrigues and her ilk, they could stand to crib a little of the maudlin storytelling of her lyrics. Both indie rock and fado thrive on misery and self-doubt, but much of the fun of fado involves the directness with which the singers relate their woes, whereas indie boys hardly ever come out and really say what’s bumming them out so much. With lines like “You’re slipping/I’m sinking” and “This existence is cold/ It’s too fucking cold,” J&H could use some more showing and less telling in their words. Will fadocore sweep the nation? Not likely, but should it catch on, the new challengers have their work cut out for them dare they try and improve on this recipe.

Splendid E-Zine
By Melissa Amos
Review of “Dairymen and Festa Queens”

Here's a bit of trivia I learned the hard way: Judith and Holofernes make excellent hangover music. With their mellow, acoustic strumming, they provide the perfect, slightly repentant/slightly miserable mood music for any post-binge recovery. Recommended usage: your painkiller of choice, plenty of H2O, a good pillow and Dairymen & Festa Queens. However, in the likely event that you weren't stupid enough to drink two bottles of wine last night, there are still plenty of reasons to appreciate the album.

Judith and Holofernes create a style of music they like to call "fadocore" -- a combination of quieter indie rock and Portuguese folk. Don't be alarmed; this isn't a soundtrack for bull fighting. One of the Northern California band's strongest suits is the temperate blending of these genres. Although their Portuguese influences are certainly noticeable, they don't so much saturate the music as inform it. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Da Rosa inserts the Spanish guitarra to stunning effect, using its unique sound to create a distinct character for the album. While this hint of foreign flair appears throughout, nowhere are their fado influences more exemplary than in the galloping melody of "Cricket", a slightly cryptic modern parable that should appeal to folk fans from Portugal to California.

From the Desperado-tinged "Throw Your Skinny Body Down" to the acoustic ballad "Mystery Date" (which sounds disarmingly like Dashboard Confessional...if Chris Carrabba weren't such an affected, whimpering pussy), the band shows a unique flair for creating poignantly sparse soundscapes. Not a single instrument on Dairymen & Festa Queens is misplaced. The impish female vocals of "My Vice for Yours", the hauntingly hollow bass line of "Draw the Line", the electric guitar feedback of "When Drones Leave the Hive": all of their songwriting choices are effectively, perfectly understated.

Although the album's attendant lyrics are frequently melancholy and occasionally downright bleak ("Throw Your Skinny Body Down", as its name suggests, is a soundtrack for hurling oneself off a high precipice), they're no less sincere. Certainly, Dairymen & Festa Queens isn't what you might call a "cheerful" album, but thankfully, Judith and Holofernes seem to have recognized that somebody has to write music for hungover Sundays. As one of their songs says, "I'll trade you my vice for yours 'cause I'm sober and you know I need you". I could say the same of them.

Mystery and misery - 4/4/05
By Jason Wilder
Review of “Dairymen and Festa Queens”

Ever hear of the the genre “Fado Core” before? Me neither. Judith and Holofernes is a fadocore band that mixes Portuguese folk music (fado) and indie rock. “Throw Your Skinny Body” is amazing. The lyrics are pretty dark and the music is pretty slow. And when I say pretty, I mean both pretty as in good and pretty as in quite. This is good.

No-Fi Magazine, Issue #46 – January/February 2007
By Quin
Review of “Dairymen and Festa Queens”

I love this CD a lot. It's all so pretty and good, and exactly the kind of thing I want to hear. When i listen i hear bits of Belle and Sebastian, The Church and Love. The mood is dark and sad, but still very full and beautiful. This is also one of those albums where the cover fits perfectly with the music. It's black and white with an old photograph of a ghostly looking girl, probably about to make her first communion. I would really urge you to get this CD now. You will be very happy you did.

One digital life - 4/20/05
By Paul Burd
Post-Show Write-Up

On Sunday I went out to the Make-Out Room to see Judith and Holofernes. They were releasing their new CD, Matança. It was a pretty good show, but a bit short. The last couple of times I’ve seen them they didn’t play a very long set. If you are unfamiliar to Judith & Holofernes, they are a local San Francisco band made up of 3 guys, and a part-time female singer (for some songs). There is more info on their site. The new CD, Matança, is awesome. My only disappointment is that it is only 5 songs.

SHzine 2004
By Stu Hood
Review of “Dairymen and Festa Queens”

This album has been a new favourite of mine for the past couple of months. Composed of lamenting folk and dreamy acoustics it crosses fine lines of sarcastic depression and upbeat horror. The songs are deeply serious underneath with very little signs of cliche, and the variety of male to female vocals are outstanding to listen to. If you're sick of everything and need something nice to listen to, I believe this band will save you. –Stu

SHzine - 10/20/06
By Stu Hood
Review of “Abraça a Tristeza”

Whiskey, sex, and death. You wouldn't think these things of Judith and Holofernes just by listening to their music (unless you have that sort of twisted mind), because they're not just another bar rock band trying to come off as bad ass. The third full length from this San Fansisco-based group shows a continuation of what they do best. The music is soft and playful, but the lyrics are downright gloomy. There's less of female backup Tracy Hobbs' vocals on this record, which is something I found myself missing when I think back to the male-famale dynamic of the first record. However, singer Dos Da Rosa still manages to impress with his air of raw and dramatic emotion. -Stu Hood

South of Mainstream
By Spodysingalong
Review of “Dairymen & Festa Queens”

Though a bit edgier and darker, Judith & Holofernes have much the same sparse beauty and mild melodic structure that appeal to fans of Belle & Sebastian. Their 2003 release, Dairymen & Festa Queens, is a mixture of haunting emotion, simple, but beautiful musical arrangement and starkly simple, but emotionally revealing lyrics, sung in male/female dual style. But it's kicked up a notch with jangly guitar and just the right amount of catchy rhythm. The male vocalist reminds me a cross between charm and grandeur of the Aztec Camera frontman and the angsty emotion of Jeff Mangum. There's a childlike intensity on the catchy "My Vice For Yours", especially when the female vocalist sounds out.

This album pulsates with drama and intrigue, with several songs that would perfectly suit a European spy flick...dark and dense, but at the same time full of movement and something not quite palpable.

The slow and somber "Mystery Date" will probably draw comparisons to Dashboard Confessional by those who don't care for emotive male vocals. But there's really no hint of whine. Instead the song imparts a lot of emotion and a sense of quiet reflection. There's an almost European classical style to a lot of the guitar sound, but it still manages to be satisfyingly jangly and offbeat. And while some folks might find the female vocalist's delivery overly high and childish, I thought it was a near perfect foil to the drama of the music. This album is a definite keeper, a certain repeat listen. If you like music with drama, atmosphere and honest emotion you should reward yourself with this album.

South of Mainstream – 7/13/05
By Mallie
Review of “Matança”

J&H play what they call fadocore, which they playfully describe as a mixture of their indie rock roots with Portuguese fado. We had the pleasure of reviewing their first release, Dairymen & Festa Queens, a while back and we were very happy to see this new release, an EP called Matança.

The success of that first album lay in its mix of jangly intrigue and intense childlike vocals with the more somber, mournful old world folk sound. The second release, however, lost the jangly intrigue and tries to succeed solely on the more mournful folk sound. Unfortunately this causes the disc to take on a role as background music. There's just no "change" that makes any one song stand out. It was that change from exuberance to raw and sad reality that made the fadocore work. The vocals are still gorgeous and haunting - though lacking the bevy of childlike girlish exuberance, but with nothing to break the somber mood it begins to drag the listener down, where their previous release was as uplifting as it was haunting. J&H are working on a third release at present and I'm very much hoping some of the childlike excitement returns.

The Fevered Brain of Radio Mike

Judith and Holofernes combines major elements of Portuguese folk song and certainly some of its fatalist song culture. That’s okay. We love it for being different and that fatalism may be part of the chord structure if we knew more about that stuff. But enough. This should be a great listen for everyone outside of California too. Just wait ‘til they tour. With a big heart you can dance to anything. This music has a big heart.

Aquarius Records
Review of “Abraça a Tristeza”

Bay Area band Judith And Holofernes take traditional Portuguese fado music and give it a gentle twist. Gracefully picked guitar flourishes are accompanied by male and female vocals that actually bring to mind those of Low's Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker (particularly on their last album The Great Destroyer). In fact, at times, Judith And Holofernes seem to be not so distant rural cousins of those somber slowcore faves. Pressing the comparisons even closer, electric guitar drones thicken the album's atmosphere and give the proceedings a bit more gravity. May we recommend that Abraca A Tristeza be listened to by candlelight? Yes! Enjoy these moody beauties as they glimmer in and out of the shadows.

So the Wind Won’t Blow It Away
Review of “Matança”

Matança est une petite merveille d'EP qui nous vient de San Francisco où réside habituellement judith and holofernes Pour se décrire, le mot "fadocore", leur est naturellement venu à l'esprit.

A Découvrir Absolument (Webzine)
By Gerald de oliveira
Review of “Matança”

Judith and holofernes "Matança" (fadocore) Commencer ce EP par une incantation à caractère religieux est aussi répulsif que les dernières saillies de Finkelkraut un joli dimanche après midi d'automne. Mais il ne fallait pas s'arrêter à cela si on ne voulait pas passer à côté de matança et ses mélodies qui ne trompent pas, mais qui séduisent pour longtemps. Judith and holofernes nous arrive de loin. De la veine d'un standard, matança combine Adam Green sans les costumes et les blagues, et tom yorke si celui ci avait the Edge plutôt que colin Grenwood comme guitariste. On reste pantois face à ce a rage so great it will consume us all protéiforme, à ce hope and hopelessness qui serait la nouvelle bande-son de mon survol de la terre en dirigeable. Hope and hopelessness touche les cieux comme peut parfois le faire radiohead, sans jamais pourtant se brûler à trop jouer avec le feu (sacré ?). En cinq chansons dont le gypsy when the body stops breathing (in the first place) cette prise de connaissance nous rappel les premiers ep de ed harcourt, d'Adam Green, une jeunesse brillante et une curiosité sans borne. Quand je vous aurais dit que it's a harder to break a habit than a promise est la meilleure chanson que PJ Harvey devrait chanter avec will oldham, vous aurez compris que laisser ce disque trop longtemps à l'ombre serait aussi bête qu'être un bouffeur aveugle de curé. À découvrir absolument.

Indietronica – 11/9/05
By Emmanuel
Review of “Matança”

Judith and Holofernes vient de San Francisco. Ce groupe est composé de Mark (basse), Stitches (guitare), Dos (guitare et voix) et Tracy (voix). Ces musiciens ont commencé à jouer ensemble en 2002 après différentes experiences dans différents groupes orientés indie rock. Toute l’originalité de ce groupe est d’avoir su et voulu mélanger deux styles de musique qu’en apparence tout oppose : le fado portugais et le rock indé. Wouaou, on sait plus quoi inventer, vous allez dire... ? Le pire, ou le mieux, c’est que Judith and Holofernes s’en sort rudement bien et c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire. Tout simplement parce que leur démarche, aussi farfelue soit elle, a été menée avec cohérence. Pour ainsi dire, J&H n’hésite pas à prendre le taureau par les cornes. Le disque " Matança " contient 5 titres qui rapprochent donc allègrement diverses facettes du rock indépendant (pop, folk ou rock) et le fado traditionnel. Un pélerinage à Lisbonne a convaincu les musiciens du groupe de continuer dans cette voie. Ils en baptiseront leur musique : "fadocore". La musique du combo alterne mélodies légères et moments de lyrisme ou de sérieux, certains diraient de tension dramatique. Il y a quelque chose de cinématographique en elle, des ambiances, des histoires et de l’Histoire. Ca sonne sec et ça claque, ça sent la

poussière et l’herbe séchée. Le morceau "Hope and Hopelessness", surtout la fin, rappellerai Lusk ou Built to Spill. Le morceau d’après "When the body stops breathing (in the first place)" mélange avec bonheur la solennité des musiques hispaniques (tango, fado) et la légèreté mélancolique pop autodérisoire. Très réussi. Le disque se clot avec ce très bon titre : "It ’s harder to break a habit than a promise".

Oui, c’est plus dur de renier une habitude qu’une promesse. Mais on espère que Judith and Holofernes prendra l’habitude d’écrire de si beaux morceaux, de conserver leurs tentations / tentatives défricheuses avec autant de panache. Prenons donc "Matança" comme une promesse.

West Coast Performer
By Leslie Henkel (Alive Records)
Highly Inaccurate Review of “Dairymen and Festa Queens”

The emo-indie sub genre has long since run the course of its emotions, and the ways in which it has chosen to express those, musically. Couplings with hardcore have proven more cathartic than emotive, while gentler takes continue to nod quietly past the point where anything applicable to one's own life is even heard, let alone felt. Of course, there are always exceptions. San Francisco's Judith and Holofernes have dragged to the table their offering of emotional indie rock grafted onto a Peruvian folk style called “fado” – from the Latin for “inexorable destiny”. It seems almost profane to suggest that fado, the indigenous product of death, slavery, and the bloody persecutions of the Moors by Christian conquerors, has all that much to do with Dairymen and Festa Queens, and its tortured (as well as caustically humorous) musings on angst, ennui, and alcohol: “I'll trade you my vice for yours as the numbness just might save us, and the cold night won't come if we have a full bottle beside us...” This style, however, which Judith and Holofernes calls “fadocore” – brooding, ironic and languid under layered guitar and guitarra, and sung with bruised sweetness by Chris Da Rosa and Susannah Williams, seems far more amicable to the fado adopted by Colmbra, Peru's boheme student faction. Contrived to suit their own purposes? Probably. Lush, dark, and emotive all the same? Inexorably so. “I can no longer draw the line between where my hatred for myself ends, and my hatred for you begins”. The heartbreaks described on this album are ephemeral, fleeting. It's not the stuff of dirges or death knells by any stretch of the imagination, but it will be the first among your indie collection to play pallbearer to your sighs and whimpers… your small, day-to-day deaths.