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.