Tag: Fado

Total 8 Posts
Dramatic, emotional music of Lisbon that has become an emblem of Portugal. Features dominant solo vocals by a fadista, who can nowadays be either a man or a woman. But the first famous fadistas in 1820s Lisbon were all women. Also often involved is the distinctive high-pitched Portuguese Fado guitar.

Carlos Ramos sings a Fado from a time before divorce

Carlos Ramos "Não venhas tarde"

Carlos Ramos "Não venhas tarde" (Don't come home late)

Words: Aníbal Nazaré
Music: João Nobre

This is a song of intense male regret, posing almost as a comedy song. It goes back to 1958. There were a lot of poor quality Fado lyrics around at the time, often focusing on everyday domestic dramas. This was one consequence of the control regime Fado was still under in Portugal. Lyrics were subject to prior approval and censorship, and lighter, more conventional topics were more likely to make it through.

But there is real feeling behind Carlos Ramos's delivery of this song, and it has become a Fado classic. There is also an unstated reality behind the story it tells, which is why it resonated with listeners at time, in a way that is hard to recapture in the very different circumstances most of us live in today.

Of that more below. First here are the words in Portuguese, with my English free translation below each verse.

Não venhas tarde
Dizes-me tu com carinho,
Sem nunca fazer alarde
Do que me pedes, beixinho

Don't come home late
You say to me with affection
Without making a fuss
About what you are asking me, softly.

Não venhas tarde,
E eu peço a deus que no fim,
Teu coração ainda guarde,
Um pouco de amor por mim.

Don't come home late
And I ask to God that in the end
Your heart still keeps
A little love for me.

Tu, sabes bem
Que eu vou p'ra outra mulher,
Que ela me prende também,
Que eu só faço o que ela quer.

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Ana Moura and Mariza recycle a classic Fado tune

Table of contents

This tune goes back over 100 years, deep into the history of Fado. It keeps reappearing with different words, as a new song with a new name, coming back to life on the breath of each singer. This is one of the keys to Fado's survival - it's a tradition that keeps reinventing itself for new generations of listeners.

Ana Moura "Ninharia"

Ana Moura "Ninharia" (A trifling matter)

Portuguese guitar: Ângelo Freire
Music: Carlos Da Maia
Words: Maria do Rosário Pedreira
From the 2016 album "Moura". This live performance is from the Coliseu in Porto.

What it's about: Ana has argued with someone about a matter of no importance ("ninharia" - a trifling matter or trifle in English) and now regrets it. Worse, it was her lover. She saw something in their eyes that caused her to throw them out. And, as fate would have it, into the arms of another woman.

Now Ana is alone. But there is nothing she can do about it. Whenever she sees her former lover she realises that the break-up was her own fault, is overcome with emotion and simply can't face approaching them to try and make up. Instead she just howls about her plight.

This is Fado!

Here's an extract from the lyrics in Portuguese, with my English free translation below.

Precipitada, incontida
Expulsei-te da minha vida
Por uma coisa de nada!

Rashly, without restraint
I threw

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Who are some of the greatest interpreters of Portuguese Fado?

I'll concentrate on singers still performing today. I usually mention the principal guitarist too, particularly if they are playing the high-pitched Portuguese guitar, sometimes called the Fado guitar. This is pretty important, as it often performs almost a duet with the singer, and is a key part of the performance. In other cases an ordinary acoustic guitar can play this role, or even a piano. Or the singer can dominate.

Cuca Roseta "Triste sina"

Cuca Roseta "Triste sina" (Sad fate)

Portuguese guitar: Ângelo Freire

This song is one of many associated with the late Amália Rodrigues, and has had many modern interpreters. Here Cuca Roseta sticks fairly closely to a classic simple, almost stark, Fado form. Unpretentious but spellbinding.

Mísia "Tive um curação, perdi-o"

Mísia "Tive um curação, perdi-o" (I had a heart, but I lost it)

Portuguese guitar: Luís Guerreiro

This isn't entirely typical of Lisbon Fado, but it is representative of Mísia, who as a performer is never under-dramatic! The song is again from the repertoire of Fado legend Amália Rodrigues, who wrote the words.

After the revolution in 1974–1975, and the opening up of Portugal to modern western music and culture after the censorship of the dictatorship, Fado fell out of fashion. Mísia has played a key role as a bridge between Amália and the Fado stars of today, convincing record companies Fado could still have a market and popularising it around the world.

Mariza "Medo"

Mariza "Medo" (Fear)

Portuguese guitar: Luís Guerreiro (plus an entire orchestra - which usually gets in the way with Fado but in this

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