The History of Fado
Scholars suggest several hypotheses about the origins of fado: the heritage of mournful Muslim songs; the direct descent of Portuguese medieval poetry; the influence of Brazilian slaves’ ‘lundum’ – mainly because in the XIX fado was also a dance.
From «fatum», the Latin word for destiny, fate, fado is a gender of typical Lisbon music, which was spread throughout Portugal and was recently considered UNESCO World’s Heritage. The songs may be traditional (of unknown author) – and get the names of musicians, or of fado singers, or be composed by well-known authors (who sometimes compose other types of songs). The latter are generally more recent. The lyrics, like the music, can be either popular, normally written in four or six line stanzas, or be poems by great names of Portuguese – or Portuguese speaking – literature.
Fado themes are the city and its daily life, love, destiny and saudade. The idea that destiny is a «story that you tell, sing and feel» is absolutely essential.
Fado is sung in the streets, in older neighborhoods, in theaters (large or small ones) in Lisbon or anywhere else in the World, but it is in Fado houses – the places where there is fado, food and good company – that the tradition has been kept. And that is what we expect from them.