|Fado: Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity||
Fado, Lisbon’s mournful song and the Portuguese most traditional and well known music
genre, was added to UNESCO’s list of World’s Intangible Cultural
On its website, UNESCO describes Fado as the ”urband popular song of Portugal,” stating
Fado is a performance genre incorporating music and poetry widely practised by various communities in Lisbon. It represents a Portuguese multicultural synthesis of Afro-Brazilian sung dances, local traditional genres of song and dance, musical traditions from rural areas of the country brought by successive waves of internal immigration, and the cosmopolitan urban song patterns of the early nineteenth century. Fado songs are usually performed by a solo singer, male or female, traditionally accompanied by a wire-strung acoustic guitar and the Portuguese guitarra – a pear-shaped lute with twelve wire strings, unique to Portugal, which also has an extensive solo repertoire.
The past few decades have witnessed this instrumental accompaniment expanded to two Portuguese guitars, a guitar and a bass guitar. Fado is performed professionally on the concert circuit and in small ‘Fado houses’, and by amateurs in numerous grass-root associations located throughout older neighbourhoods of Lisbon. Informal tuition by older, respected exponents takes place in traditional performance spaces and often over successive generations within the same families. The dissemination of Fado through emigration and the world music circuit has reinforced its image as a symbol of Portuguese identity, leading to a process of cross-cultural exchange involving other musical traditions.
Mariza, a leading contemporary performer, multiple award winner and the ambassador of Fado’s UNESCO candidacy said that should Fado be honored “perhaps we Portuguese may take greater pride in who we are, especially in the so very grey times we currently live in.”
“People shall have a far greater desire to care for, understand and nourish (Fado) as they begin to understand that this is not some lesser culture, but rich and deep and able to be performed anywhere in the world,” the singer explained.
While its origin is unknown, historians believe Fado is a multicultural blending of songs by Portuguese homesick sailors, African slave songs and ancient Moorish ballads.
For all this and the importance of this distinction, we can only say. "Congratulations Fado!"