In praise of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky
What love means

Tunes for a Monday Morning


Today's music comes from four extraordinary singers of Portuguese fado: a genre of songs expressing feelings of love and saudade (or longing), sometimes called "the Portuguese blues." We often listen to fado in our house, but it has particular poignancy for me right now because Howard is in Portugal for the next six weeks. (He's teaching Commedia dell'Arte and mask theatre, once again, at the drama academy in Porto). Tilly is bereft without his presence...and if she could sing, she'd be singing fado at this very moment.

The song above is "Meu Amor Marinheiro," performed by Carminho (Maria do Carmo Carvalho Rebelo de Andrade), an exceptionally talented young fadista from Lisbon. She's released two well-received albums so far: Fado (2009) and Alma (2012).

Youth is not a requiste of fado, however, where many of the finest voicest are richly tempered by time and experience. Below is Mísia (Susana Maria Alfonso de Aguiarin), one of the great fadistas of the last twenty years. Mísia, who comes from Porto, champions a literary form of fado using lyrics drawn from the poetry of writers both contemporary and historic. The song below, "O Manto da Rainha," comes from her 2011 album, Senhora da Noite, with texts written exclusively by women poets and fadistas.


No posting of contemporary fado can overlook the great Mariza (Marisa dos Reis Nunes), born in Portuguese Mozambique and raised in Lisbon. Ever since her recording debut in 2001, she's been a leading figure in the "New Fado" movement, and she's certainly the best known of the fadistas internationally. The video below (which plays images of Portugal's folkloric past against its multi-cultural present) is for the song "Rosa Branca," from her beautiful seventh album, Terra (2008).

And last:

Ana Moura (from Santarém, Portugal) is a "New Fado" singer known for her collaborations with musicians from different genres, ranging from jazz to pop to hardcore rock-and-roll. In the video below, she brings a fado style to her rendition of "A Case of You" by Joni Mitchell. (For a taste of Moura singing fado, go here.)

If you'd like a little more fado this morning, you'll find two exquisite songs here.