This week I attended a concert in Toronto that gave me many saudades (feelings of longing or melancholy) for the country of my heritage, Portugal.
Mariza is a well known fado (translated in English means fate) singer around the world and although she has performed in Toronto many times, this was the first time I had the opportunity to witness her passion and amazingness on stage.
Fado itself is a musical style generally thought of as very sad, or evoking much sadness. However, as Mariza explained during her show, fado is so much more. It can be happy too, because it is more about feelings of melancholy as opposed to just sadness. Regardless, even those who do not understand the Portuguese language can still feel these emotions come through in the music and songs, mainly due to the passion of the fado singer.
Fado is usually performed by one singer, male or female, who is accompanied by a classic guitar player and a Portuguese guitar player (a very specific style of guitar). In Lisbon, one can go to many different “Casas de Fado” (fado houses) to hear either professionals or amateurs perform.
One of the most famous fado singers in the world was the irreplaceable Amália Rodrigues, who was known as the “Queen of Fado” before her death in 1999. Nowadays, the new group of young fado singers are helping to bring fado back into the mainstream of Portuguese music. Mariza, with her distinct look and sound, is one of the most well known young fado singers; she has appeared on Late Night with David Letterman, toured the world and performed in the most prestigious venues, and has been nominated for a Latin Grammy three times.
If you ever have the chance to attend a fado performance whether in Portugal or elsewhere, I encourage you to go and fall in love! So many non-Portuguese speaking people love it so, therefore proving that fado transcends all languages.
You can check out Mariza’s tour info here.