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Amalia Rodrigues and Cristina Branco Sing Fado

Updated on March 27, 2011


If you've never heard fado your're in for a treat if you tune in to this YouTube video of Portugal's greatest fado singer, the late Amalia Rodrigues. I've also included a video of contemporary singer beautiful Cristina Branco.

Fado is somewhat similar to Spanish flamenco or cante jondo, and it's content is in some ways akin to American blues and country music--lost lovers and other sad themes. Fado is a staple of Lisbon nightlife. Well worth a try after you've seen the famed Gulbenkian Museum in the afternoon.

From Wikipedia

Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. In popular belief, Fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, in reality Fado is simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure.

The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade (that has no match in English but it could be understood as nostalgia felt while missing someone), a word describing a sentiment. The word "pine", sharing the same root as the portuguese word "pena" (which has evolved to express the feeling of being sorry for someone) seems to describe the meaning of the word saudade only in very crude terms as a feeling of nostalgia, or longing, which is agreed by translators to not be an accurate description.Furthermore, because the word pine is actually a verb in English whilst saudade is simply a noun, any translation using these two words would be inaccurate.

Some enthusiasts claim that Fado's origins are a mixture of African slave rhythms with the traditional music of Portuguese sailors and Arabic influence.

There are two main varieties of Fado, namely those of the cities of Lisbon and Coimbra. The Lisbon style is the most popular, while Coimbra's is the more refined style. Modern fado is popular in Portugal, and has produced many renowned musicians. According to tradition, to applaud fado in Lisbon you clap your hands, while in Coimbra one coughs like if clearing one's throat.

Mainstream fado performances during the 20th century included only a singer, a Portuguese guitar player and a classical guitar player but more recent settings range from singer and string quartet to full orchestra.

Cape-Verdean morna is a close relative of fado.

Amalia Rodrigues

Lisbon Nightlife--Fado

Portugal's Greatest Singer-Amalia Rodrigues

From Wikipedia

Amália Rodrigues

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search Drawing by André Koehne

Amália da Piedade Rebordão Rodrigues, GCSE, GCIH, pron. IPA: [ɐ'maliɐ ʁu'dɾigɨʃ], (July 23, 1920 – October 6, 1999) was a Portuguese singer and actress. Born in Lisbon, official documents give her date of birth as July 23, but Rodrigues always said her birthday was July 1, 1920. She was born in the rua Martim Vaz (Martim Vaz Street), freguesia of Pena, Lisbon. Her father was a trumpet player and cobbler from Fundão who returned there when Amália was just over a year old, leaving her to live in Lisbon with her maternal grandmother in a deeply Catholic environment until she was 14, when her parents returned to the capital and she moved back in with them.

She was known as the "Rainha do Fado" ("Queen of Fado") and was most influential in popularizing the fado worldwide. She was unquestionably the most important figure in the genre’s development,[citation needed] by virtue of an innate interpretive talent carefully nurtured throughout a 40-year recording and stage career. Rodrigues' performances and choice of repertoire pushed Fado’s boundaries and helped redefine it and reconfigure it for her and subsequent generations. In effect, Rodrigues wrote the rulebook on what fado could be and on how a female singer—or Fadista—should perform it, to the extent that she remains an unsurpassable model and an unending source of repertoire for all those who came afterwards. Rodrigues also remains the sole truly international star to have ever come out of Portugal,[citation needed] with an extensive international career between the 1950s and the 1970s, although in an era where such efforts were not as easily quantified as today. Other well-known international fado artists such as Madredeus, Dulce Pontes and Mariza have come close, however.



Ana Moura, 31, Contralto Fado Star
Ana Moura, 31, Contralto Fado Star

Amalia Rodrigues "Solidao" 1969

Amalia Rodrigues--Com que voz

Cristina Branco

Ciristina Branco

Fado with John Carlos Silva "Eterna Amizade"

Cristina Branco "Agua e Mel"

Cristina Branco


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    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Outside Portugal the fadista (as a practitioner of the genre is called) most evident of late is the 31-year-old Ana Moura, whose smoky contralto has drawn the attention of the Rolling Stones and Prince and who has just released a live CD called “Coliseu.”

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      9 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks, funride. I'll check your link. I've been a Fado fan ever since a couple of memorable nights in Lisbon 20 or so years ago. I also like Cante Jondo and Blues. The three strike me as related some how.

    • funride profile image

      Ricardo Nunes 

      9 years ago from Portugal

      Hey Ralph, how are you doing this days? I missed this one from you... thanks for divulge Fado and Portuguese culture :)

      If you like you can get to know more Young Fado Singers from Portugal here:

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      11 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Wow, that is a lovely video both musically and visually. Thumbs up!

    • Ralph Deeds profile imageAUTHOR

      Ralph Deeds 

      11 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks Storytellersus. I added a very nice video by Cristina Branco. Not sure why the second one by Amalia Rodrigues was taken down.

    • Storytellersrus profile image


      11 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Ralph I was so excited to hear Fado after reading your Hub but the top YouTube was "Embedding disabled by request."  Is it just me?  Thanks for the introduction to this lovely music.  Oh, I see that eovery also had this problem. The second YouTube is wonderful with the light and everything.

    • eovery profile image


      11 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      Thanks Ralph,  You made my day.

      I lived in Portugal for 18 months on a church mission in the early 80's.  My favorite fado is the Vamos Brinder com Vinho Verde ao meu povoa do Portugal....  Also, the Lisboa fado.

      You bring back memories.

      Thanks Ralph,  You made my day.

      Also, the top youtube is not working.

      I learned the word Saudade to be a noun for our verb of feeling homesickness or longing for. But you description of nastalgia is also works. Eu tenho saudades de Portugal e dos pasterias com bolas de berlim, toata mistas, and caminhao.


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