Fado, some History

The history of the Fado has always reminded me of that of the Tango, as they were both initially perceived by the bourgeoisie as a disreputable, lower-class music and introduced by visitors from afar.
In the case of Fado, the most widely recognized music of Portugal, its roots are frequently traced to Brazilian immigrants who brought their fofa and lundu dance music to Portugal in the early 1800s.

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.
Portuguese Guitar
The crucial instrument of Fado is the Guitarra Portuguesa, a 12-string guitar derived from a lute common to the Congo region of Africa. During the early years of the slave trade (15th century), this lute was carried by Africans to the Portuguese colony of Brazil. The instrument eventually made its way to Portugal. 

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
As for the literary component of Fado, the thematic soul of the music is represented in poetry that dates to the 15th century and the writings of Luís Vaz de Camões, who is considered Portugal’s and Portuguese language’s greatest poet. His mastery of verse has been compared to that of Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante. He wrote a considerable amount of lyrical poetry and drama but is best remembered for his epic work Os Lusíadas (The Lusiads). 
Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver 
Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver; 
É ferida que dói e não se sente; 
É um contentamento descontente; 
É dor que desatina sem doer; 

É um não querer mais que bem querer; 
É solitário andar por entre a gente; 
É nunca contentar-se de contente; 
É cuidar que se ganha em se perder; 

É querer estar preso por vontade; 
É servir a quem vence, o vencedor; 
É ter com quem nos mata lealdade. 
Mas como causar pode seu favor 

Nos corações humanos amizade, 
Se tão contrário a si é o mesmo Amor? 
Love is a fire that burns without being seen
Love is a fire that burns without being seen; 
It’s a wound that hurts without being felt; 
It’s an unhappy happiness; 
It’s a pain that drives you crazy without hurting; 
It’s a wishing no more for what you like; 
It’s walking lonely within a crowd; 
It’s never being contented with contentedness; 
It’s seeking to find oneself in losing oneself; 
It’s wishing to be a prisoner of wishes; 
It’s serving who you have overcome, you the victor; 
It’s being faithful to someone who kills us. 
But how can its favour cause friendliness in human hearts, 
if love itself is so contrary to itself?