Fado Music

Fado Music

Fado music is traditional Portuguese music that heals the soul. Fado music calls to the surface all the emotions that you may have hidden somewhere deep and suppressed within yourself. It is melancholic music that is not to be missed if you are staying in Portugal. A traditional melody that evokes feelings.

Fado in translation means destiny, and as a musical genre it originated around 1820 in Portugal. The main characteristic of Fado music is a sad melody and lyrics, dedicated mainly to the sea and the life of the poor. It is believed that fado was sung by sailors on their voyages accompanied by nostalgia for their home, but also by poor residents who lived near the port of Lisbon. Through fado music, they expressed their emotions, recounted adventures from life. In Lisbon, you can hear fado music from many bars, especially in the old town of Alfama. This part of the city used to be for the poor and this is where some of the first sounds of fado began. It was inhabited by Portuguese, Spaniards, Brazilians, Africans, and the musical influences of all these countries influenced the emergence of fado.

The roots of fado music, according to some sources, come from the former colony of Brazil, and some believe that fado is part of North Africa, but all together agree that troubadour of Provence from the Middle Ages can be heard in fado. The performers of fado music are a singer accompanied by two musicians with musical instruments viola (Portuguese guitar with 12 strings) and guitar. Although fado was originally associated with the poor, at the end of the 19th century, fado also gained importance among the rich, where the guitar was replaced by a piano in the houses of the rich.

The emotion expressed through fado is closest to the Portuguese word "suadade" which would mean sadness, nostalgia or longing or regret for something. Although the word itself signifies difficult emotions, it is still enjoyed in some way. We could equate the word Fado with soul.

When it comes to the type of Fado music, there are two types - "Lisbon Fado" and "Coimbra Fado". Although Lisbon fado is more preferred, coimbra is more refined and gentle.

  • The first performer of fado music was Maria Severa, at the end of the 19th century. She wore a black scarf during the performance of fado music, and that style was taken over by some other singers, so wearing a black scarf became a tradition.
  • Famous performers of Fado music of the 1930s with sound recordings are Madelena de Melo, Alice Lemos Avila
  • Famous performers of Fado music in the middle of the 20th century: Amalia Rodrigues, Carlos de Carmo, Carlos Ramos, Hermenia Silva, Maria Teresa de Natrona, Fernanda Maria.
  • Modern performers of Fado music are: Adelia Pedrosa, Mariza Dos reis Nunes, Katia G., Teresa S., Maria Ana Bobine, Luz Sa Da Bandeira
  • Fado music is mostly performed by one voice accompanied by Portuguese and classical guitar
  • UNESCO included fado in the World Intangible Heritage in 2011
 Author of the text:

Maja Glavaš, Bachelor with Honours in Communicology. Works in Tourism.
Contact: [email protected]; instagram: travel_europe1

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