Crystal posted on David Hart and Voltaire, commenting in passing on one of the cities most dear to me, Lisbon. This led me to think of the beautiful, sad Portuguese song known as the fado. I found a decription of fado on the NPR website in an interview with my favorite fado singer, Misia:
Songs of longing and despair are a national tradition in Portugal -- a musical tradition called fado. The word comes from the Latin fatum, meaning fate, destiny or doom.
Fado emerged from the brothels and taverns of Lisbon about 200 years ago, and were first sung by lonely sailors. Today the songs are mostly performed in restaurants and special fado clubs.
I have seen Misia a couple of times in Spain. She has a strange, ethereal beauty, with pale skin, and black hair in a Lousie Brooks cut. Dressed in black, she stands still as she sings, moving only one arm in a slow, expressive arch like a ballet dancer. You can listen to the interview and hear some of the music on this site.
The fado is spine-chilling in its nostalgiac beauty. It's different than the firey, Mediterranean flamenco. It is cooled by the Atlantic breeze and filled with the longing one feels looking at the westward ocean, so different from the welcoming mother sea that warms the Eastern shores of Spain. Portugal is much, much different.
You can see an interview in Spanish with Misia here, and a 1961 video of the great "Queen of the Fado," Amalia Rodrigues here. Misia's website is here.