Fado – The Portuguese Blues

fadoFado is the Portuguese equivalent to the blues. It is music derived from sad songs sung by women waiting for their husbands on the shores of the stormy Atlantic mixed with tunes of African slaves and some hints of Arabic influence. The theme is normally about loss, missing someone, or the sea and hard life, hence, the blues connection. The style became popular in folk music in the early 1800s. To this day, there are fierce debates over the genre’s origin and the way it should be performed.

Today there are two main schools of Fado. The Lisbon style which tends to be more free and the Coimbra style which is more conservative and pure. At performances of the latter, the audience is not supposed to applaud. Traditionally, Fado is performed with a Portuguese twelve string guitar player and a singer. However, in modern interpretations, additional instruments appear as well. If you want to experience Fado, go with the locals. The touristy events can be pretty pricey, so you might find yourself moaning along with the Fadista.

IMAGE VIA: jlastras on Flickr