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Fado is cathartic, and full of a longing to return to a place and time that never was. But, like anything about Portugal, there is a lot more there that you might think. Fado is often referred to as a Lisbon song, and that is not exactly true. The Fado, the oldest form of popular music still practiced in Europe, reflects the complex soul of the Portuguese. Neither sad nor joyous, the Fado is a song of "fallen souls, lost nights, strange shadows, love, jealousy, ashes and flames." Read more →


Coimbra is about 2 hours north of Lisbon, clustered over the River Mondego, and home to the oldest university in Portugal. As a great university (1288) students came from Lisbon and Porto and brought their guitars. Over a century and a half ago, a new style of Fado was born. They sang to impress a young women, than they sang their anguish for not succeeding in impressing a young woman. And they sang of Coimbra, a city they came to love. Read more →


The Portuguese guitar or guitarra portuguesa has twelve steel strings, And, for all Portuguese it is forever associated with Fado. It dates back to the beginning of Portugal in the 12th century, and lovingly called the "banza" went with Portuguese sailors around the world. Not surprisingly, it has undergone considerable modification in the centuries - and makes a sound like no other instrument. Read more →