A Sweet and Melancholy Sound – Listening to Fado Music in Portugal

If you are planning a getaway to the Algarve region of Portugal for your next holiday, why not plan in an evening of listening to the hauntingly beautiful sounds of traditional Fado music?

When you are on holiday abroad, you see the sights, taste the food and feel the sunshine on your skin. By going to a Fado performance you can take it one step further and engage your sense of hearing as well.

Fado music has a long and fascinating tradition in Portugal and it is incredibly moving and powerful to listen to. Dining at a local restaurant while listening to the traditional sounds of these old fashioned ballads will truly give you an experience of the heart and soul of Portuguese culture.

Fado MusicThe Story of Fado

First of all, what is Fado music and how did it originate? Here is a bit of information about the history of Fado and its significance in Portuguese culture:

Origins of Fado

This Portuguese musical genre can be traced all the way back to the 1820s and perhaps even earlier. Its history is mostly passed on orally, which is why it is difficult to know exact dates. Some believe that the genre traces its origins back to songs between friends during the Middle Ages, Moorish Ballads or African-Brazilian rhythms. In the mid-19th century, the performers of Fado music were poor working class sailors who danced as they sang, accompanied by a Portuguese guitar and a classical guitar.

What the Music Means

The songs of Fado tell the tales of life of the poor and also about the people’s relationship with the sea. They are passed down through several generations by parents singing the songs to their children and so this tradition has carried on through the centuries. Most Fado songs often have a distinct tone of melancholy and the feeling of a sense of loss. The Portuguese word for it is “Saudade” which translates as longing. Even if you cannot understand the lyrics, the powerful emotion in the music will reach into your heart and touch you deeply.

This type of music is so unique and so important to Portuguese culture, that it has actually been named a UNESCO World Heritage treasure.

Listening to Fado in the Algarve

Although this type of music originated in Lisbon, Fado has spread throughout Portugal and can be experienced in the Algarve region. You will have many opportunities to listen to live Fado music while staying in the Algarve on your holiday.

At the Porches Velho restaurant in the quiet village of Porches you will find yourself within a 210 year old wine cellar, which is the perfect setting in which to feel like you have been transported back in time while listening to the music. At the Real Marina Hotel you will be able to attend Fado performances every Sunday.

Another great place to listen to Fado is The Atrium restaurant in Albufeira, which has balcony dining that overlooks the streets of this picturesque city. Also, the town of Portimao hosts the Festival of Fado which gathers together some of the best musicians in the country to perform.

Besides these options, you could always just ask the local people in the community if they know of any upcoming Fado performances.

If you have a chance to spend an evening listening to Fado during your holiday in the Algarve, be sure to take the opportunity. Listening to this beautiful style of music being performed live is incredibly moving and will be one of the most memorable experiences of your visit to Portugal.

During your holiday at Monte da Quinta Suites, be sure to take the opportunity to enjoy some traditional Fado music.


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