Famous fado

Famous fado

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Portugal is steeped in culture, history, and traditions and one of the unique symbols of Portuguese culture is fado music. This melancholic genre, which translates to ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’ in Latin, reveals the passion in the Portuguese people’s disposition and evokes a despairing belief in a futile destiny filled with pining and hopelessness.

Fado can be traced back to the 1820s in Lisbon but probably has much earlier origins. The main themes of passion, fate and regret are believed to have their roots in the ancient songs of African slaves. It could also be attributed to the many homesick Portuguese sailors of the 14th and 15th centuries Age of Discovery – the golden period of Portuguese maritime exploration, where sailors were away at sea for long periods in the worst conditions imaginable.

Today’s solo fado singer has a stylish way of dressing and sings like no singer from other genres. They are traditionally accompanied by the Portuguese guitar – a pear-shaped cittern with twelve wire strings, unique to Portugal. The most popular theme in the lyrics is ‘saudade’, a word that has no literal translation but means nostalgic longing, love, or a yearning for happier times.

The most well-known fado singers here are Carlos do Carmo, Mariza, Ana Moura and the one and only Amália Rodrigues, who launched fado to a worldwide audience in 1943.

In 2011, UNESCO considered fado to be worthy of appearing on their list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. If you want to discover this musical genre so typical of Portuguese traditions, then there is nothing better than to visit one of the many existing fado houses, especially in Lisbon, but also in Coimbra and Porto.

To find out more about calling Portugal your home, contact our knowledgeable multi-lingual team here at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Portugal Property – part of one of the world’s most trusted and respected corporations. Telephone +351 308 800 878 or 0800 014 8201 free from the UK. Alternatively, email us at hello@PortugalProperty.com.

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Published in: Guide to Portugal / Miscellaneous / Portuguese Life