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Fado preface

Let me introduce myself.... I am FADO. Please do not confuse me with my homonym "fado" whose origin is to be found in the Latin word "fatum", which means destiny, that which is predetermined.

No, I am FADO, a form of musical expression sometimes sung, sometimes ill-treated and with no feeling, by the masters, crying on the strings of a Portuguese Guitar. 

But as our culture appears to be a close relation of my homonym, please allow me the privilege of defending myself. Don’t treat me as old for I am not and I will not change my nationality because I am proud to be Portuguese. If you wish to know my parents’ names do not read false birth certificates. Take care while searching. Although I am sometimes melancholic, I was not born in North Africa, if I were I would have a house in Algarve (last refuge of the Muslim culture). 

There are those who confuse my swagger with the swaying of the Caravels. Rather unlikely. I get seasick; otherwise I would have taken advantage of the cruises of Infante D. Henrique and become famous in our Discoveries. As far as I know, Luís de Camões was not a fado singer. While we are on the subject and there is still time, I should like to make a small remark to the people who make dictionaries and encyclopaedias. Do not only read the book by Tinop. Seek other opinions. 

You will certainly get to know me better. Alberto Pimentel called me "Triste Canção do Sul" (The Sad song of the South). If on the one hand I am sad (do not forget I have appeared in reviews!), on the other hand you should know that a gentleman called Lacerda, in the fourth edition of a dictionary he made, says I was heard of in 1874. If I am not in previous dictionaries, or was a baby for many years, or if I am right: I am not very old. They want me to be the national song but my friends do not agree with this. I do not represent the Vira dances from Minho, nor the Arruadas from Alentejo. 

I do not know how to do Fandango tap dancing nor the running version of Fado from Algarve. The more lettered wish me to have a doctorate but, Augusto Hilário really did take me to Coimbra, and the students created a Portuguese Guitar and a specific form of singing. I am Lisbon Fado, although I have a cousin who studied in Coimbra, who wears a cloak and cassock, and is called Ballad. There were no mobile phones then. They even want me to be Brazilian. 

To confuse umbilicus dances, destined to entertain sailors, with FADO, just because this dance exists in Brazil, is the same thing as asking the mechanic when checking your car to fit it with spark plugs made of cloth. The most nostalgic defenders of the state of confusion (excuse the remark on the side, in fact the girls at the Meteorological Bureau are quite nice) also want me to take part in the discussions about August 4th 1578, as to whether El Rei D. Sebastião was lost at Alcácer Quibir. These narratives were made in French by a gentleman called Caveiral. 

Some negligent person translated into Portuguese the word Guiterne (metal stringed guitar) as Guitar, with no offence... it has a fine fullness of sound. As for the Portuguese Guitar; do you know how I came to meet up with it? I found it on the corner of a street and "we lived love with a sense of urgency", to paraphrase Fernando Pessoa. 

As the Sun is still high in the sky and the donkey is trotting well, if you wish to know more from me find some time in your busy life and read the book José Lúcio wrote. The connoisseurs will find nothing new, the students may perhaps find points of disagreement, but as light comes from discussion, light the candles because we are about to sing Fado.
I shall say no more and have said nothing about usage.

From your friend.
Fado


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