Tag Archives: Mariza

Portuguese Heritage – Fado

The theme for this week’s WordPress photo challenge is Heritage. Thinking of the words ‘heritage’ and ‘Portugal’ in the same sentence the first thing that comes to mind is Fado.

We were fortunate to see the highly acclaimed Fado singer Mariza in concert in 2010. It is one of those treasured memories that will always stay with me.

Mariza in concert - Lagos 2010

Mariza in concert – Lagos 2010

Dating back to the early 1900’s Fado (destiny/fate) is traditional Portuguese music with its roots in Lisbon. From my experience of listening to Fado I can only describe it as the voice of a soul in torment. The fadista (singer) usually sings about the harsh realities of daily life and is extremely melancholy. Expression also plays an important part of the performance with anguish not only portrayed in the voice but also in the facial expressions.

Mariza in concert 2010

Mariza in concert 2010

The fadista can be male or female and is often accompanied by guitars including a Portuguese guitar

The Challenge

This week, share a photo of something that says “heritage” to you. It can be from your own family or culture — a library, a work of public art, a place of worship, an object passed down to you from previous generations. Or, like me, you can choose to focus on a tradition to which you don’t belong, but to which you’ve been exposed whether through travel, moving, or the people in your life.

Related posts: Fado is like Marmite (or should that be Veggiemite?)
Useful websites:


FADO – is like Marmite!

“Fado cannot be explained, it must be felt and experienced”
(quote from http://www.fado.com)

Mariza - "terra" Concert, Lagos

Mariza - "terra" Concert, Lagos

The word fado I am told means fate but the music portrays a far wider range of emotions from love, betrayal, sorrow, death, hopelessness, passion and more – in truth all the emotions we feel and can relate to. I personally believe fado to be music of the soul.

My first experience of fado music was at a fado evening organised by one of our local restaurants. I remember my introduction to fado like it was yesterday. It was a male soloist who both sung and played the traditional Portuguese guitar. Although I could barely speak a word of Portuguese, the voice like an instrument portrayed heart-felt emotions of great sadness. I am embarrassed to say as the fado artist started to sing the tears rolled down my cheeks, unchecked. Transfixed and totally almost in a trance – I was not expecting such emotion…

We happened to be guests of a Portuguese man and when he saw how much I appreciated the music he politely asked my husband if he could buy me the Fado artist’s CD. He was unemployed at the time and despite my protestations he presented his gift with pride. I accepted with humility and the seeds of my passion for fado were sown. I went on to buy several CD’s and I was soon to discover, like most music, quality and style varied considerably! I then stumbled across Mariza.- I was totally hooked and bought a couple of her CDs!

Mariza sings with great passion!

Mariza sings with great passion!

Mariza is an international star performing in major concert halls all over the world. The quality of her voice and the range of emotions she portrays, through the music, leave you spellbound. She was definitely someone I wanted to see live in concert and experience the atmosphere first hand.

You can imagine my sheer delight when someone brought to my attention Mariza was performing at the Auditório Municipal de Lagos (amphitheatre) not a million miles from where we live, and tickets were only €20. We were immediately on the phone to the Cultural Centre who was selling the tickets – just praying that we could book them making ourselves understood using just our “pigeon Portuguese. The phone call was painless and the girl spoke perfect English. Expecting to be asked for our credit card details we were amazed to reserve two tickets with only our name for reference. They would hold them for collection until 24 hrs before the concert. Hubby and I were incredulous!. We both felt it was too easy. In fact, we were convinced something had been lost in translation so we were not convinced until we rushed down to the Cultural centre to collect them. Holding the tickets in our hands the concert suddenly became a reality.

The evening of the concert was hot and airless – thank goodness the concert was held outside. We had already been warned to bring along cushions to sit on, as the seating consisted of rows of concrete benches. Although the concert did not start until 22.00 we arrived just after 21.00 as seats were not pre allocated. Sitting in a central location we had a brilliant view but surrounding seats were quickly taken, so lucky we arrived early! However, we were amazed that there were still so many empty seats by the time the concert was due to start! Still it was nice to have a little room as you certainly did not want any bodily contact with your neighbour – it was just to hot! Saying this just as the concert was starting, a couple of Portuguese ladies tried to squeeze in and wanted us to all to move up like sardines! What a cheek! They arrived late and wanted some of the best seats in the house. A Portuguese man a few seats along from us gave them their marching orders and pointed to all the empty seats elsewhere.

Mariza walked onto the stage and her presence immediately stilled the audience with expectation. She started to sing with such raw passion, you felt the music in your soul and the very fibre of your being.

She was accompanied by 4 musicians, two guitarists – one playing the traditional Portuguese guitar, keyboard player and a drummer. Initially I was not sure about the drummer but I have to concede he did add depth to some of the more upbeat songs. He was a brilliant musician and entertainer in his own right and entertained us with a brilliant solo performance while Mariza took a brief rest.

Music is the language of love and fate.

These are the words to one of the songs she sang that evening plus I have found a recording of the song. ENJOY!

O Gente Da Minha Terra

O Gente Da Minha Terra

É meu e vosso este fado
Is both mine and yours this fado
destino que nos amarra
destiny that tides us (together)
por mais que seja negado
no matter how much it is denied
às cordas de uma guitarra
by the strings of a guitar
Sempre que se ouve um gemido
whenever one hears a lament
duma guitarra a cantar
of a guitar singing
fica-se logo perdido
one is instantly lost
com vontade de chorar
With a desire to weep
Ó gente da minha terra
Oh people of my land
agora é que eu percebi
Now I’ve understand
esta tristeza que trago
This sadness which I carry on
foi de vós que a recebi
Was from you that I received
E pareceria ternura
and it would seem tenderness
se eu me deixasse embalar
If I let myself be soothed
era maior a amargura
my anguish would be greater
menos triste o meu cantar
my singing (would be) less sadder
Ó gente da minha terra
Oh people of my land

Mariza is certainly taking fado to the world stage and attracting a wider audience. We look forward to her next concert!!

WHY IS FADO LIKE MARMITE?  You either love it or hate it! 🙂

Who is your favourite Fado singer?