Application of Fado to the Representative List of the Intangible
Cultural Heritage of Humanity: http://www.candidaturadofado.com/en/
The most widely recognized music of Portugal is fado, and it's been an
extremely popular form among the Portuguese for nearly two centuries.
Fado is a bluesy music that began to gain popularity among the urban
poor of Lisbon in the 19th century. Brazilian and North African
influences helped shape fado, as did Portuguese poetry and modinha
ballads. The roots of Fado are frequently traced to Brazilian
immigrants who brought their fofa and lundu dance music to Portugal in
the early 1800s. Similar to Tango, Fado was initially perceived by the
bourgeoisie as a disreputable, lower-class music.
The essence of this poetry is the quality of saudade – a word that
does not readily translate into other languages. The difficulty stems
from the fact that the word saudade expresses a range of emotions –
loneliness, melancholy, longing, even a fatalistic view of loss.
Saudade evokes love in ruins or a bittersweet nostalgia for persons or
events lost in the past. Fado is a somber, sometimes mournful, music
that, like the American blues, gives voice to heartache and
disappointment. When sung well, it can be wonderfully emotive and