Fado Rap

The back story here is that we were in the Azores for the New Year, having spent the week of Christmas in Lisbon. The Azores are a Portuguese territory, a small group of islands several hundred miles off the coast of Portugal. In late December the islands are temperate, but fickle, turning from dazzle to drizzle in a nano-second.

We were exploring a small seaside village that had once been a whaling port when we came upon a group of teenagers practicing their rap. (Bear with the background wind noise):

Here’s what Wikipedia gives us: Although the origins are difficult to trace, today fado is commonly regarded as simply a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain traditional structure. 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, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fate and melancholia. This is loosely captured by the Portuguese word saudade, or longing, symbolizing a feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent lifelong damage). This is similar to the character of several musical genres in Portuguese ex-colonies such as morna from Cape Verde, which may be historically linked to fado in its earlier form but has retained its rhythmic heritage. This connection to the music of a historic Portuguese urban and maritime proletariat (sailors, bohemians, dock workers, port traders, fishwives and other working-class people, in general) can also be found in Brazilian modinha and Indonesian kroncong, although all these music genres subsequently developed their own independent traditions.

We had seen traditional fado the previous week in Lisbon:

But seeing these teenagers playing to an audience of none, in the middle of nowhere, we finally felt that we had experienced fado. (Of the almost 200 videos I have posted on YouTube, this one has the most views and comments.)

One thought on “Fado Rap

  1. Thanks for bringing back our Fado memories. We went to Madeira while visiting the mainland but never got to the Azores. Looks quite lovely. The warmer climes are looking quite appealing these days.

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