Songlines | Fado – Guides, Features and Interviews

Fado Profile

  • Related Countries: Portugal
  • Related Artists: Mariza, António Zambujo, Gisela João

Emerging in the cosmopolitan working-class areas of Lisbon as an outcome of the cultural interchange between Portugal, Africa and Brazil, fado is often referred to as ‘the blues of Portugal.’

It’s a description that does justice to the music’s soulful passion but not to its elegance. Accompanied by the mellifluous sound of the Portuguese guitar (guitarra), the dramatic performance of the singer (fadista) lies at the music’s core.

Alfredo Marceneiro was regarded as the ‘king of fado’ until his death in 1982 but it is female singers who have found the greatest fame outside Portugal, from Amália Rodrigues, who died in 1997, to Mariza, the current reigning ‘queen of fado.’

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