Que estando triste, cantava
April 6, 2013 10:56 PM   Subscribe

Fado is a Portuguese musical genre which originated in the 1820’s in Lisbon. It has been enjoying a revival over the last twenty years, one of the most prominent recent voices being that of Mariza. In 2006 Simon Broughton did a documentary exploring the roots of the music. Via youtube, here is Mariza and the Story of Fado.

The current historiography suggests that it was part of the cultural exchange between Brazil and Portugal which occurred when the Portuguese court fled Napoleon to Brazil in 1807. Fado was extremely popular in Portugal through the early twentieth century, but its popularity declined after the fall of the corporatist military regime in 1974 due to the way the regime had used the music to push their social agenda.

Its revival is associated with a number of singers, among them Mísia, Cristina Branco, and of course Mariza herself. Men sing fado as well (of the two schools of fado, Lisbon and Coimbra, that of Coimbra is traditionally sung by men) - some of the men currently singing fado (both of Lisbon and Coimbra) are António Zambujo, Camané, Fernando Machado Soares (who is one of the great exponents of the Coimbra tradition) and Marco Rodrigues.
posted by winna (13 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
posted by y2karl at 11:25 PM on April 6, 2013

Fado is beautiful music, but *so* depressing. I remember first listening to Ana Moura a few years ago and it made me want to check out more of it.
posted by xtine at 11:25 PM on April 6, 2013

I saw a Fado performance in Lisbon in 2003 in a restaurant where I had one of the best meals I've ever eaten. It was a beautiful performance and such a great experience. Thanks for the excellent post.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:38 PM on April 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Man, that link to Mariza: If that's her song about spring, the song about winter would cause me to lie down and never get up again.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:23 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

I thought it was much older and came from Coimbra. Very interesting.
posted by Segundus at 12:28 AM on April 7, 2013

See also saudade/sodade (Cesaria Evora).
posted by trip and a half at 12:34 AM on April 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fado talks about the soft places inside of hardened people. It takes a heart of stone and renders it into crushed gravel that bleeds a million drops of regret. It renders the unspeakable completely feelable. It causes steel to cry and feeds the breath of a sighing mountain. It is the loneliness of an Iberian gaze into the cold North Atlantic with the foreknowledge that the lover you just sent out there will be returned only as a murmur on the wind.

It is so sad, people sing the blues just to lighten things up. It is so heart wrenchingly deep that once the sounds have owned your ears, your soul will forever be a prisoner to the Sirens of loss and longing.

You have been warned. This beauty will break your spine.
posted by salishsea at 12:36 AM on April 7, 2013 [10 favorites]

Best is "Fado Vadio", the "bum's Fado", which is a bit like a stand-up comedy spot's free mike night. Except with Fado. Tasca do Chico is probably the best-known. Fado and the Taxi Driver. Little Wheatstalk. Fado, The Hours

Also: don't forget Amalia Rodrigues.

Or Madredeus.
posted by chavenet at 12:50 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

Ah, this is a great post to wake up to. Thanks winna.
posted by homunculus at 10:18 AM on April 7, 2013

Yes, Winna, you gave me another part of the world to explore. And fado vadio -- so great!
posted by argybarg at 10:21 AM on April 7, 2013

I love fado. It makes my heart swell with its grandiose swooping mournfulness.

I recommend listening to it lying on the couch on a boiling hot day in the summer, the windows up and the blinds down against the sunlight. You should have a glass of wine and a secret sorrow. Lie on the couch, drink the wine, and let the music wash over you in a wave of pleasurable grief.

That's how I usually do it, anyway.

Heres's the full text of the song from the title.
Fado Português

O Fado nasceu um dia,
quando o vento mal bulia
e o céu o mar prolongava,
na amurada de um veleiro,
no peito dum marinheiro
que, estando triste, cantava,
que, estando triste, cantava.

Ai, que lindeza tamanha,
meu chão, meu monte, meu vale,
de folhas, flores, frutas de oiro,
vê se vês terras de Espanha,
areias de Portugal,
olhar ceguinho de choro.

Na boca dum marinheiro
do frágil barco veleiro,
morrendo a canção magoada,
diz o pungir dos desejos
do lábio a queimar de beijos
que beija o ar, e mais nada,
que beija o ar, e mais nada.

Mãe, adeus. Adeus, Maria.
Guarda bem no teu sentido
que aqui te faço uma jura:
que ou te levo à sacristia,
ou foi Deus que foi servido
dar-me no mar sepultura.

Ora eis que embora outro dia,
quando o vento nem bulia
e o céu o mar prolongava,
à proa de outro veleiro
velava outro marinheiro
que, estando triste, cantava,
que, estando triste, cantava.

(my bad) English translation

Fado was born on a day,
When the wind barely stirred,
And the sky stretched the sea.
On the rail of a sailing ship,
In the chest of a sailor
Who, full of sadness, sang.
Who, full of sadness, sang.

'Alack, what immense beauty,
My land, my hill, my valley
Of golden leaves, flowers and fruits
Do you see lands of Spain,
Sands of Portugal,
Eyes blinded by tears.'

In the mouth of a sailor
In the fragile sailing ship
The song hurt as it died
With the stinging desire
Of lips burning with kisses
That kiss air and nothing more,
That kiss air and nothing more.

'Mother, goodbye. Maria, goodbye.
Remember this well,
I make this vow:
I will take you to the altar,
Or if God it was who was served
Give me burial at sea.'

Now, another day
When the wind barely stirred
And the sky stretched the sea,
At the bow of another sailing ship
Another sailor was wakeful
Who, full of sadness, sang,
Who, full of sadness, sang.
posted by winna at 11:32 AM on April 7, 2013 [2 favorites]

chavenet: thanks for mentioning both of those.
posted by adamsc at 5:40 PM on April 7, 2013

Winns...thanks for the translation. My heart breaks!
posted by salishsea at 2:18 PM on April 8, 2013

« Older Right about now you're thinking, "I have a bad...   |   The Blogging Dead Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments