For a long time I have been trying to think of the name of this music. Then, out of the blue, one of my writer friends J. Kathleen Cheney Fado, painting by Jose Malhoamentioned something about Fado. Kathleen has been working on stories set in Portugal, I believe, and has even go so far as to begin to learn how to speak the language. She’s a good writer and if you haven’t given her stuff a try then you should. She brings an incredible attention to detail and authenticity you don’t see enough in fiction.

Anyway, that was the name and style of the music. Fado is often mournful and the themes reflect the sea, or the poor, or longing and resignation. There’s a culture around this form of music I like a lot, too. Fado is traditionally sung in a dim, unadorned café. When the performer is singing everyone is required to stop eating and sit very still and quiet so she (or he) can concentrate.

I had a scene in an unpublished novel called Red Widow where a Russian-American spy sat in a Lisbon bar listening to fado. That was years ago, and I didn’t feel like going back and pouring through the manuscript to see what it was called. But I couldn’t remember the name of the style.

All this time I had been wracking my brain trying to remember it, haha. Thanks, Kathleen!

Anyway, here is some fado for you by Amália Rodriques, one of the best fadistas ever. Enjoy!

4 Replies to “Fado”

  1. Whether or not I learned to speak the language is still up in the air. By the time I left Portiugal, my brain was totally fried!

    I have an Amalia Rodriguez CD ;o)

    And you’re welcome!

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