FADO - Portuguese music
By EmmaBLUEBEN. Thursday, May 3, 2012 1:20:12 AM
Fado (Portuguese:destiny, fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, in reality fado is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure.
The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade which symbolizes the feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent life lasting damage). Some enthusiasts claim that fado's origins are a mixture of African slave rhythms with the traditional music of Portuguese sailors and Arabic influence.
But fado only appeared after 1840 in Lisbon, at that time only fado marinheiro (sailor fado) was known and was sung, like the cantigas de levantar ferro, only by sailors. Fado was not known in the rest of the country, not even in the Algarve, and it was not known in the south of Spain where the Arab influence stood until the end of the 15th century. Until the beginning of the 19th century there was no written record of fado.
The 19th century's most renowned fadista was Maria Severa.
Mainstream 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. Known as the "Rainha do Fado" ("Queen of Fado"), Amália Rodrigues was most influential in popularizing the fado worldwide. Other famous fado singers include: Carlos do Carmo, Cristina Branco and Mariza.