It wasn’t until after 1830 that Fado appeared in Lisbon where it was introduced in the port districts of Alfama, Mouraria and Bairro Alto. There are many theories about the origin of Fado. Some trace its origins to “cantigas de amigo” (friends songs) from the Middle Ages, or Moorish songs, and also to African-Brazilian rhythms.
Africans and Afro-Brazilians had favored their lute as an accompaniment to dance, but in Portugal musicians began to use the modified version of the instrument to accompany ballad singers, and this is where the Fado was born.
|Lundu as practiced in the 18th century –
in a painting by Rugendas – 1835
The word Fado comes from the Latin word fatum, from which the English word fate also originates. The word is linked to the music genre itself and, although both meanings are approximately the same in the two languages, Portuguese speakers seldom utilize the word fado referring to destiny or fate.
Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade which symbolizes the feeling of loss.
Fado remains first and foremost music for voice and guitar. Bass, violin, viola, and/or cello are frequent contributors to modern Fado, and percussion is used by some arrangers.
There are two main varieties of fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the more popular, while Coimbra’s is the more classic style. Modern fado is popular in Portugal, and has produced many renowned musicians. According to tradition, to applaud fado in Lisbon you clap your hands, while in Coimbra one coughs as if clearing one’s throat.
Famous Fado interpreters
Amália Rodrigues, Ermelinda Vitória, Lucilia do Carmo, Bévinda, Carlos do Carmo, Margarida Bessa, Mísia, Teresa Silva Carvalho, Esmerelda Amoedo, Erícilia Costa, Joana Amendoeira, Mafalda Arnauth, Cristina Branco, Dulce Pontes, Ana Moura, Madredeus, and Mariza.
Significant contemporary Fado songwriters
Jorge Fernando, Maria Manuel Cid and Manuel D’Andrade.
|Luís Vaz de Camões
1524 – 1580
É um não querer mais que bem querer;
É querer estar preso por vontade;
Nos corações humanos amizade,