domingo, 29 de novembro de 2009


There were too many things to mention about Fado but since the theme is so wide I would have to write an entire Blog about it. So, this is pretty much the closing chapter before taking you guys and gals trough a little tour at some other Portuguese musical genres. But I wouldn´t feel good about myself If I didn´t mentioned the name of a man that dignified so well the music genre that is Fado.

The name is Carlos Paredes. And since there really isn´t information about him in the English version of Wikipedia I believe that It´s up to me to leave you with a very short chapter about who was this magnificent musician and person.

Carlos Paredes ( Born: Coimbra / February 16 -1925 Died : Lisbon / July 23 -2004) He was a composer and a Portuguese Guitarist, one of the great Portuguese guitarists (The greatest according to me and some other people) and he did an amazing job divulging the Portuguese guitar. He is a unique symbol of the Portuguese culture. He was the son, grandson, and great grandson (and so on) of well known Portuguese guitarists themselves. I´m sorry but I must open another parenthesis here ( It´s not a known fact If he left children to keep the family tradition, at least I don´t believe he did but there is one thing that makes me extremely happy, because in these days, whenever I speak with some guys from my generation, or with some younger guys that love Fado they all know the name Carlos Paredes and besides that, there is a all new generation of Portuguese Guitarists appearing because of the musical influence of this great man). Needless to say there was a ton of things that could be said about him, It´s in fact because of him that I learned to appreciate Fado. I mentioned earlier that I would explain this In full detail so here is a brief explanation : you see according to some Fado music is usually linked to the word Saudade (that has no match in the English language but could be understood as nostalgia or missing something or someone ), okay, this is correct but there´s one link that´s missing in this chain.

You see, the word Saudade Isn´t something exclusive of the Portuguese language because before one tries to understand It one must feel It. The reason because I truly love the music of Carlos Paredes it´s because he can explain this peculiar word so well to everyone no matter his or her origin, religion, age, nationality,academic formation or any sort of background without the use of a single word. He was able to capture the very essence of Fado and translate into that universal language known to everyone as" music". And since we are not machines but human beings we can all feel and therefore understand. And that happened to me, I understood.

So now, If you will allow me we will try something that I don´t believe that anyone did so far.

I will try to explain to you the very meaning of the word Saudade. To do that I will only ask of you to read these following words but I want you to open the music called verdes anos that you see bellow. Please remember don´t try to look for the meaning because the meaning will find you. O.k, is the music starting ? Are you ready ? Here we go...


What is saudade ?...

Saudade is the fisherman´s wife that waits for her husband by the beach...

Saudade is watching the sun after the eclipse...

Saudade is the words that we forgot to say to our loved ones before they departed...

Saudade is the child that opens the cage for the little bird, and gives it freedom...

Saudade is the sun that sets on the horizon ...

Saudade is that seed you planted that olds the promise of one thousand forests...

Saudade is the very first breath of the new born...

Saudade is all the love that we gave and was given to us...

Saudade is that single kiss that symbolizes all the kisses we gave and were given back to us...

Saudade is that single tear that symbolizes all the aches and pains we ever felt...

Saudade is that laugh that  symbolizes all the happiness we felt and will ever feel...

Saudade is the soldier´s return from war...

Saudade is time never standing still...

Saudade is the wind dancing trough the fields...

Saudade is the destiny that we choose for ourselves...

Saudade is the emigrant that is starting a new life in a new land ...

Saudade is holding your newborn for the very first time...

Saudade is the lightning that fills the night with light ...

Saudade is saying farewell to those you love...

Saudade is looking at the moon reflexion by the river...

Saudade is the first and last season of our lives ...

Saudade is fate and fate is saudade...

Saudade is that brief encounter with your lover after waiting one thousand years...

Saudade is birth and death...

Saudade is silence ...

Saudade is the salt of tears and sea...

Saudade is all there is was and will be...

Saudade is whatever you want It to be...

Saudade... it´s you, and it´s me...

See you soon !.

sábado, 21 de novembro de 2009


Like I´ve told you before in SONG -A CONTINOUS ACT.PART 3. Fado as evolved and adapted over the years. In It´s original formation Fado music is always presented in the same fashion.

You have a male or female singer accompanied by one or two classical guitar musicians and one or two Portuguese guitar musicians. If you´ve watched that late footage of the song “Estranha forma de vida” performed by Amália Rodrigues you will see Fado music performed In It´s purest most classical and most tradicional form. Now, that is Fado pure and simple !; But over the years Fado as evolved and adapted. So In our days You can see Fado music performed In different ways. Usually there will still remain the formation of singer plus classical guitar plus Portuguese guitar but

Joining them could be a piano or a flute or a pan pipe or even a full orchestra. And after the year 2000 sky was the limit. I´ve been listening to versions of Fado played with electrical guitars, basse

guitars, drumsets , and all sorts of technological and electrical Instruments. And not only that but even the very structure of Fado was changed, so know It´s common to hear It with with influences from jazz , rock n´d roll, Brazilian music, African music , pop music , and so on.

It´s not up to me to tell you If this Is a good or a bad thing , I don´t consider myself a traditionalist. It´s my belief that all things should evolve and adapt and this includes all music styles according to my perspective. There is only one thing that really bothers me , you see some of these versions of Fado have distanced themselves so much from It´s origins that even If they have a similar appearance with this music genre they aren´t really Fado songs. They are like sheep in wolves clothing. Let me show you an example of what I mean : If you are a gourmet and love Italian cuisine you probably know the difference between Lasana and noodles. So, If you walked into an Italian restaurant and ordered a plate of Lasana and the waiter brought you back a Plate of noodles covered with ketchup you probably wouldn´t eat It, because even If they are similar they aren´t the same thing , do you see what I mean ?.

But this poses no objection to the big music corporations that use as motto peculiar and stupid phrases like: If you cook something long enough you can eat It (we don´t care If It´s edible or not). Simply because they don´t and never will have love for music. These sort of characters love only one thing - money.

You see, this bothers me because over the years I´ve learned to love this music style.

I know that this may sound confusing to you especially If you are a very practical person. You may wonder -What does he mean with learning to love ? You do, or you don´t !. -So I humbly beg of you, to please allow me to explain.

Like I´ve mentioned to you earlier Fado after a period of decreased popularity is becoming once again popular. And why is that happening ?. -Well, there really isn´t an explanation, or there Is but I´m afraid that It will sound silly. Well, but silly or not here goes - Fado isn´t just a simple music style, Fado Is In fact something very mystical and with a personality of It´s own. - Are you laughing ?, No ? -Laughing or not I´ll keep going -Fado is the very representation of the Portuguese spirit In It´s very essence, In other words It´s the soul of my country ( because every country has a soul , believe It or not ) , And since all souls are attached to something living this one cannot be detached from Portugal , because Portugal like all other countries as life In It.

So what happened was that for a certain period of time The Portuguese people became unattached with this spirit because they were experiencing something very new and wonderful called freedom after a long period of oppression , and we fell In love with other foreign things and almost forgot the beauty we had in our one backyards. Almost like a teenage love affair, but as I´m sure you are aware teenage Love affairs don´t last long, because they lack maturity and responsibility.

You see the very same thing happened to me. Once I too fell In love and after falling out of love I felt the need to express the feeling of loneliness and void inside of me. I didn´t know how to until I listened to Fado. You see, before this happened I heard Fado dozens of times but I never really “listened”. And there Is a big difference between hearing and listening no matter what others may tell you. And like magic there It was the explanation to all of those aches and pains I felt but could not explain. I had a friend that once told me that you can look for Fado everywhere but you will never find It , It will find you when you least expect It.

Little did I knew, that he was right !...but I´ll explain this better to you In my next post.

For now I´ll leave you with the voice of one of my very favourite Fado singers.

Ladies and Gentleman here is... Camané.

CAMANÉ "Sei de um Rio"

terça-feira, 17 de novembro de 2009

Amália Rodrigues - Estranha Forma de Vida


To write about Fado without mentioning Amália Rodrigues is like writing about pastry without mentioning flour or sugar. There was a lot to say about this unique woman that brought so much richness to this particular music style and that divulged it worldwide with her unique voice.

It´s almost impossible to use the word Fado without linking it to the name Amália and I´m pretty sure that there are a lot of foreign folks out there that would not even know where Portugal is if they didn´t linked the name Amália to my country. I won´t develop a lot about Amália since you can read about her and about other Fado singers in the Hiperlinks painted in Blue along the texts.

And, If I try to develop a lot about Fado and especially about Amália I would have to eventually write an entire book, and I have no interest in doing such a thing.

Not only female Fado singers made it to stardom, there are and were in the past a lot of male Fado performers that were really great. Among them is Carlos do Carmo who is thankfully still singing and is a major if not the biggest contributor to this Music style and also played a great part divulging it worldwide. To make a brief note about him let´s just say hat Carlos do Carmo is to Fado what Frank Sinatra was to jazz. He is without a doubt one of the greatest Fado singers of all times. Now I´m going to share something with you that might just shock you a bit – When I was a kid In my teens I really “HATED FADO”. How is this possible, Some of you may ask !? - Well, let me explain -Have you ever heard that sometimes somethings skip a generation ?. -You see, in the old days when my grandparents were young in the 30´s,40´s,and 50´s Fado was “hip” mostly because there were´nt a lot of music styles around. Sure, you could listen to some Jazz, Tango or Opera but the most common musical genre available to everyone was Fado that you could listen to in the taverns and on the Radio. Then in the 50´s ,60´s,and 70´s a huge new musical style kicked in hard, ROCK AND ROLL. Have you ever heard how rock n´d roll changed the world ?. -Yeah, such statement is true. Sure enough when my parents were in their teens this was the Cool thing to ear. Of course that you would still listen to Fado and some other music genres but "Heart break hotel" from Elvis and "Love me do" from the beatles and other pop songs were in the hearts and minds of the teenage Portuguese people especially because back in those days Portugal was still under the Fascist Dictatorship of Salazar. The youngsters wanted to try new things new lifestyles and most of all wanted to be free. A new music genre also appeared in those days called “Intervention music”. I will show you a bit of It in my final post. In 1974 came the carnation revolution and with It the end of Fascism.

I was born in 1974 and to tell you the truth Fado wasn´t exposed to everyone as a “pop” thing. Truth be told when I was a little kid Fado was ridiculed a lot. If one said in public school that he loved Fado he would most probably be really beaten up by the other kids. Sure enough that Fado wasn´t dead, far from It, but television and radio broad casted the American and English music styles a lot, and never forget that this were the days when rock and roll mutated into punk rock, rock ballads, heavy metal e.t.c. and these music styles exploded into a million new branches creating all sorts of new music genres. I usually call these the “FAST -FOOD DAYS”.

As mentioned before I wasn´t greatly exposed to Fado songs except when I listened to a bit of Amália on TV ( thank God she was still singing back then ) and on a few occasional times when I joined granddad in the old taverns when after a few ( probably a lot ) glasses of wine were poured and emptied one of those old timers would say something like – you guys, see If you remember this one ?! - and some old timer would start singing a tune and after that another guy would sing another different song. I guess, It was during those days that my love for Fado began to grow, very slowly but surely.

The strangest thing happened in the late 90´s and in the beginning of the year 2000. Fado once again became “hip”, I will explain why that happened in my next post and also how Fado mutated Itself from hate to love until it turned into a new Love affair for me.We have a proverb that it´s told in every Fado house before the singer starts to act. -Silêncio, que se vai cantar o Fado. -Silence, because Fado is about to be heard.

Without the need for any more words, I´ll leave to the voice of Amália Rodrigues.

domingo, 15 de novembro de 2009

quinta-feira, 12 de novembro de 2009


HI, folks -And how are you all doing ? -O.K. ? -I hope so !

Now, this is the third and probably ( I´m not sure yet ! ) the semi final post that I am going to write about Fado. To follow I´m just going to give you an insight about A popular instrument called Portuguese guitar and Portuguese guitarists. And the last post will be a quick random look about other Portuguese music styles.

Now, as I´ve mentioned and emphasized before on SONG -A CONTINOUS ACT.PART 2. not all

Fado songs speak about fate. Yes, It´s true that at It´s core Fado Is a sort of depressive music style, really!.Usually related to the silence of the night and the mysteries around It, bad fortune, disgrace,

fate, jealousy, Love, shadows, loneliness, and so on. That´s why usually when a female singer goes on stage she is wearing a black dress and the main instruments that join her voice are Portuguese guitars that produce those characteristic melodies that sound like small cries.

When she is doing this she is playing the part of the weeping widow, she is misery and pane incarnated. But enaf of sadness, besides I don´t want to depress you !. I was going to tell you about the more merry versions of Fado.

Let´s say that a male Fado singer is going to be a dad.

Now, unless he is a poor bastard that can´t afford to feed his child he isn´t going to sing a song about how unfortunate he is. Quite the opposite. He has to show you hapiness. But how is one supposed to show happiness in such a melancholic music style ? - Well, that´s the beauty about music , music is like water and wind...It´s adaptable. So, this guy would write a merry tune about how happy he is about being a dad, and the guitarists would speed up the tune but still maintaining

It´s structure. It is still Fado only sang in a different manner to obtain a different state of mind. Did I make myself clear? - I hope so.

Now, over the years Fado as evolved and adapted, Like all music styles do. I´ve listened to a lot of different versions of this music style,and In my next an final post about Fado I´m going to show you a few examples of It.

For now I have to say farewell, but I´ll leave you with a merry version of Fado performed by a quite recent band called Deolinda. I really love this music clip because It was filmed near my house. It doesn´t matter If you don´t understand Portuguese, just try to follow the structure.

The female singer is telling the story of how a certain boy isn´t good enough for her because she is too much of a woman. Notice the detail of the Hawaiian hula dancers,,,funny stuff.

Enjoy ! :)

Deolinda- Fado Toninho

terça-feira, 10 de novembro de 2009


Since I was a kid I always had the peculiar idea to compare songs and tunes from several different countries, styles and origins with each other. Not only that, but I´ve always been curious about where such and such particular music style originated from and the evolution of the same.

And as time goes by It seems to me that this peculiar hobby has been fruitfull.

I would like to add that I am not a musician. I couldn´t play an instrument If my life depended upon It, and I can´t sing neither. Well, maybe in the shower ? But then – can´t we all?

You are probably wondering why I´ve placed this small video of the great past female jazz/blues singer
  Billie Holiday bellow.         

Why did this crazy guy placed a blues song when he was writing about Fado ?. -You might ask. -Well I´ll tell you why!. Compare both songs. No, I don´t want you to pick up a English - Portuguese dictionary and compare words. I want you to listen to the tempos.

I want you to listen to the hurt engraved on the song. I want you to feel the expression behind the words.

O.K. Now let me ask you. Did you found similarities ? - Yeah, you probably did.

But before a wave of critics from several continents fall down on me like a ton of bricks accusing

me of saying that Blues is Fado and Fado is Blues, let me just add that I never mentioned such a thing. But please , just allow me to exercise my freedom of speech even If you are a music scholar

that doesn´t agree with me.

The word Fado derives from the Latin word “fatum” meaning in English “fate”.

And most Fado songs speak just about that -fate. Now the word fate could be separated into two particular items. 1. Good fate. 2. Bad fate. Fate in itself is a word that seems unconditional.

You have It , good or bad and you can´t get rid of it. Because it is what it is...It´s fate.

The God´s have spoken...period. And most Fado songs (notice the emphasis on the word “most”, not all) Fado songs speak just about It...fate, and It´s many stories , because It was fate that brought this or that person sadness because he or she lost someone or something that truly loved and that turned into deep sadness that one could ear , feel and express oneself trough the gift of song.

Now, let me ask you something -If you turn back the clock to those days where the Negro cotton pickers were very poor and forced to work in a land that wasn´t theirs to survive for little or no pay does it not pop up in your memory the word... fate ?

You might say that the Mississippi Delta isn´t Lisbon city and you are right. But there is one peculiar thing that I´ve been telling some of my countrymen and most of the times I never seem to get a assertive answer. Fado like Blues share a common ground...Africa.

Searching deep down in the roots of history over the years It as become my firm belief that both music styles derive from those poor people that were carried against their will in slave ships.

And do you know of anyone that could express fate so well as the person that lost everything like the poor African on board of those slave ships ?.

All of the rest is adaptation and evolution.

And isn´t it of common knowledge that Portugal, North America and many other countries dealt in the past in such shameful business venture.

Than again , I could be wrong.

Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit


segunda-feira, 9 de novembro de 2009


This month I´ve decided to present you guys with a bit of Portuguese culture. This will also be one of the topics in this Blog instead of just "gags" and other stuff.

I´ve decided to do this step by step without following no particular order.

I won´t be boring giving you dates and hard facts about this and that. You can do that by yourselves by "Googling" that which may interest you. All that I am trying to do is to give you a sort of personal interpretation of what “I think and believe” about some particular things.

So let´s start with a topic that everybody loves -Music.

Every nation and culture have that one or two  characteristic  sounds that define them. Everybody knows that if you think of Africa probably the sound of drums will pop up on your mind.

But as I´m sure you are aware, not all Africans play percussion instruments. Some of them play the piano, some play violin, and some even play electric guitar. After all this is the 21st century.

Let´s start with the most  characteristic music type in the Portuguese culture. FADO.

Bellow , you can have a little taste of it sung by a popular and most beautiful female Fado singer named Cristina Branco.

If you don´t understand Portuguese there´s no need to worry.

Fado should be listened with your heart and not just with the ears.

If you do that everything will be just fine.

But the story doesn´t end here. So stay tuned.

Cristina Branco - Fado nos sentidos / Fado in my senses

quarta-feira, 4 de novembro de 2009

terça-feira, 3 de novembro de 2009

segunda-feira, 2 de novembro de 2009

Jacob the carrier Pigeon / Jacob o pombo correio

My friend Jacob the carrier pigeon came this morning for breakfast. I hadn´t seen him in a long time.

-"How´s it hanging ?" I asked the pigeon that was trying to maintain it´s balance on my window ledge.

It looked at me with that "seen it all, done it all, been everywhere"

expert look in it´s eyes. There were no need for words, really!.

I picked up some bird seed and watched him pecking away on it.

After that, it looked at me and sort of asked "Do you want me to deliver any

messages ?. "

I said no.`Cause I know he´s a really busy guy.

So he said thanks and just flew away waving goodbye to me with both wings untill it became a little dot

in the sky.

-I wonder where he went?!. It´s possible that someday he might show up in your window ledge!.

If he does you might want to give him some bird seed.

He isn´t peculiar, any brand will do.

O meu amigo Jacob o pombo correio apareceu esta manhã para o pequeno -almoço.

Já não o via à imenso tempo.

-"Como vai isso ?",  Perguntei ao pombo que tentava manter o equilíbrio no parapeito da

janela. Ele  olhou para mim com aquele olhar de expert "já vi tudo, já fiz de tudo, estive em todo o lado"

Realmente não havia necessidade de palavras.

Fui buscar algumas sementes para pássaros e observei -o a bicar nelas.

Depois disso ele olhou para mim e perguntou -"Queres que te entregue alguma mensagem ?."

Eu disse que não. Porque sei que é um tipo muito ocupado.

Então agradeceu e voou para longe acenando para mim com ambas as asas até se transformar num

pequeno ponto no céu.

Pergunto-me aonde ele foi ?!. É possível que algum dia ele apareça no parapeito da tua janela.

Se ele aparecer talvez lhe queiras dar um pouco de sementes para pássaros.

Ele não é esquisito, qualquer marca serve.