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Fado to Travel By

Fado is the song of those without luck, cursed by fate, and lost in a fog of the past. It is the song separation, of homesickness and longing. In Portugal, the Fado is sung not only in Lisbon but also from the Alentejo to Coimbra to Porto. And, wherever one finds a community of Portuguese, they will find the Fado, too. That is why the Fado can be a song of places – and in that spirit we have picked our five most haunting Fado’s of places and nostalgia. If you are thinking of moving to Portugal, but these on the soundtrack. We call it Fado to Travel By…. These are Fados of longing for a place – full of the sadness of one who misses home.

Recado A Lisboa

This poem turned Fado is of a Lisboeta far off, thinking of their home. Written by actor and film director João Villaret, many Fadistas have performed it, including Carlos do Carmo and Amalia.

Lisbon, dear mother.

Wrapped in your shawl

I hope you get this my letter

That brings you my regards.

That God may help you Lisbon

Fulfilling this request

From a Portuguese who is far away

And who is always traveling .

Will say goodbye to Graça

That is so beautiful, that is so good

Go and take my kiss to Estrela

And embrace Madragoa.

And even if it's cold

And the boats sit on the river.

Stopped without navigating

Pass for me by the Rossio

And it takes a look around for me!

If it's Sao Joao

Down the old streets of the Alfama

Light my heart

In the fire of its flame


Tuna_do_Liceu_de_Évora _anos_40_(In_www.cm-evora.pt)
Sonhar Contigo, ó Coimbra

Luís Góis, Coimbra Fado legend penned this Fado. There are so many Fados about Coimbra. But to pick just one… this nostalgic song of a student remembering the city where they studies, with fondness is charming – and captures the sounds of the University:

To Dream of you oh Coimbra

With your moonlight and ballads

It is to bring inside the heart

Faded white roses

Roses from the altar that Penedo

In our souls is craved

And the flowing waters Mondego

To the sea of life it takes us to…


Lá vai Serpa, lá vai Moura

The University of Coimbra brought people together from all walks of life, and from all over Portugal. Thus, this folk song of the Southern Alentejo became a Coimbra Fado, singing of the lovely towns of Serpa, Moura and Pias - olive country in the Southeast of the Alentejo:

There goes Serpa, there goes Moura      

Oh, and Pias is in the middle.  

There goes Serpa, there goes Moura      

Oh, and Pias is in the middle.

Who comes to my land        

Oh, you do not have to be uncertain.    

In your eyes, lovely dark haired girl,      

Oh, they make light my dark soul.    

I want you more, oh dark haired girl          

Oh, than the light of each day.  


Balada de Encantamento

Set just south of Coimbra, the monumental and bustling city of Leiria is an emerging destination – and this Fado of Coimbra, celebrates the city and its river. By José Pais D'Almeida E Silva.

Inside of you, oh Leiria

Lived an enchanted Moorish

You know, she’s my beloved.

And has as a name, Maria

Leiria, you were a thief.

Leiria of the Liz River

You stole me of my heart.

And, see there, I'm happy


Meu Alentejo

Evora is the capital of the Alentejo, a bright and whitewashed city. But this Fado is in the voice of an Alentejano, who departing for Lisbon, and recalling all that they have left behind. Song by João Camilo.

I do not know what I have in Évora,

What of Évora, but I'm remembering

When I get to the River Tejo

The waves take me.

I left the Alentejo

I looked back, crying

Alentejo of my soul

You're slipping so far from me

Ceifeira as you go so calmly

Oh, and so calm cutting the wheat

Reap the sorrows of my soul

Reap them, and take them with you


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