Portugal gave to the world a most lilting genre of music that encompassed the entire feeling of desire and longing for home or something special i.e. Fado.
It is typically characterised by the Portuguese word ‘saudades’ which means a feeling of permanent loss.
While the melody and words steal the limelight every time, fado would feel incomplete without the beautiful strains of its accompanying instruments. These have traditionally been the guitarra classica or guitarra Portuguesa, the viola and the viola baixo.
There are two main types of 12-string Portuguese guitarra – the Lisboa guitarra and the Coimbra guitarra, to coincide with the two main styles of fado. The Lisboaguitarra has a larger soundboard and the tuning keys are topped with a stylised scroll-shaped ornament. It emanates a beautiful bell-like sound when played.
The Coimbra guitarra, on the other hand, has a richer, bass sound and features an ornament shaped like a tear drop or shield at the end of its fretboard. The guitarra classica differs from the viola. It does not use steel strings, while the viola baixo is a four-string bass instrument that is often substituted these days with a double bass.
More recently, musicians have included the guitolão to the mix. Developed by expert Portuguese luthier Gilberto Gràcio, the guitolão has thicker strings, a wider box and a longer neck compared to the traditional guitarra.
The modern fado has incorporated many new instruments including the piano, violin and accordion. It is sometimes even sung to an orchestra.
With its distinct style and rich tradition, fado is undoubtedly one of Portugal’s most beautiful legacies in Goa. Foremost in celebrating this is Cidade de Goa resort, which recreates old-world Mediterranean charm at Alfama – The Chef’s Speciality Restaurant on the first Tuesday of every month with hand-picked décor and a specially crafted menu reflecting Portugal’s finest dishes.
Discover the harmonious tradition of the fado with its unique instruments at Cidade de Goa’s Noite de Fado on June 06, 2017.