Fado

A typical Portuguese music genre, expressing a special feeling of life

Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which most likely originated in the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. It is characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade, a word with no accurate English translation. (It is a kind of longing, and conveys a complex mixture of mainly nostalgia, but also sadness, pain, happiness and love). Some enthusiasts claim that Fado's origins are a mixture of African slave rhythms with the traditional music of Portuguese sailors and Arabic influence.

There are two main varieties of fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Modern fado is popular in Portugal, and has produced many renowned musicians.

Main stream fado performances during the 20th century included only a singer, a Portuguese guitar player and a classical guitar player but more recent settings range from singer and string quartet to full orchestra.

Saudade a Portuguese word for a feeling of longing for something that one is fond of, which is gone, but might return in a distant future. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.

Saudade is generally considered one of the hardest words to translate. It originated from the Latin word solitatem (loneliness, solitude), but developed a different meaning. Loneliness in Portuguese is solidão (a semi-learned word), from Latin solitudo. Few other languages in the world have a word with such meaning, making saudade a distinct mark of Portuguese culture


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