Welcome to Portugal: A - Z


Folk and dances, as well as "Fado" are the base of the traditional Portuguese music.

"Fado" is the Portuguese word for "fate", but as you hear the sad tenor in this music, you will know why it is rather translated to "complain" or "mourn". Fado is the Portuguese pride and is therefore regarded as the national music treasure. It is also the most difficult form of musical expression in Portugal. Well-performed, this music is jolly and touching, but a lack of skill will make it sound overblown and high-handed.It is a very sentimental music and it is supposed to have evolved from the African slave music.

Fado expresses the general frustration and the Portuguese fatalism. There are two different versions of Fado - one from Alfama and Mouraria (which are districts of Lisbon) and the other from Coimbra. The Fado from Lisbon is more personal and emotional, whereas the Coimbran Fado is more academic and thus reflects the old traditions of the university town. Almost every Fado song tells tales about love, mostly unreturned love.

The "Fadista", the singer, traditionally dressed in black, stands in front of the audience; the musicians sit behind him. When the fadista starts singing, everyone keeps quiet and no more food is served. Fado-fanciers love them, and every fadista has a very good reputation. The most famous fadista was Amália Rodrigues, who died in 1999 and was well-known all over the world. Other famous names are Carlos do Carmo, Alfredo Marceneiro, Hermínia Silva, Rodrigo, Maria Alice and Tristão da Silva.

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This page shows basic information. There is no guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the given facts. The page is regularly updated.

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