The "Fado" is the main Portugal's pride (the other is wine,
the Port, the (white) Madeira, a *very* good Champagne -
any Frenchman listening? - etc.). It is a sentimental music,
and is thought to have its roots in African-Slave music.
The music has come to be identified with a general sense
of frustration (the loss of their empire?) and a unique Portuguese
fatalism. "Fado" means fate. But it's "saudade" which is seen
as an essential ingredient of Fado. "Saudade" has been described
by Rodney Gallop as a " ... yearning for something so indefinite as
to be indefinable; an unrestrained indulgence in yearning.
It couples the vague longings of the Celt for the unattainable with
a Latin sense of reality which induces realisation that it is unattainable,
and with the resultant discouragement and resignation".
There are two versions of the Fado. One from the Alfama and
Mouraria discticts of LIsbon, and the other from Coimbra.
The Lisbon Fado is more personal and full of feeling, and the
Coimbra Fado is more academic There is also a "popular" version
that blends Fado and folk traditions. The singer - the fadista - stands
in front of the audience, and behind him are the musicians.
The usual arrangement is two guitars and one 6-string guitar.
When the fadista sings a hush falls over the room, and no food is served.
The Guitarra do Fado is a traditional Portuguese instrument,
descendant of the Arab lute. It is a smallish 12-string guitar
and has a unique sound.
A very good paper (a link to Greek dance & music)
Casas de Fado (addresses)
A good fadista: Dulce Pontes
Madredeus (famous group, vaguely fadista)
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