Fado: Soul of Lisbon
Many explorers of world music may have overlooked the small country of Portugal and its rich musical tradition. Fado, Portugal’s most popular traditional music, originated in Lisbon’s mysterious Alfâma district in the early 19th century, and features dual guitars and a female voice. The name Fado means fate or destiny in Portuguese, which reflects its wistful and melancholy tone. Fado focuses on loss and the uniquely Portuguese concept of saudade, which suggests a deep nostalgia for lost love, home or for a happier time.
Fado has a rich history and is very much alive today. For a more traditional take, try the works of the Queen of Fado, Amália Rodrigues. Musicians such as Madredeus, Cristina Branco, and Mariza explore more modern adaptations of this unique musical form.
Amália Rodrigues (International Portuguese 5571)
Fado Português (International Portuguese 0208)
The Soul of Fado (International Portuguese 0106)
Fado em Mim (International Portuguese 9026)
O Paraíso (International Portuguese 0228 )
Corpo Iluminado (International Portuguese 1512)
Reviewed by Nathan
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
It is often the small and mundane disasters that bring the distant problems of a larger world into focus. A recent novel that very subtly deals with this modern anxiety about environmental and social collapse is Karen Thompson Walker’s debut novel, The Age of Miracles.
Thompson deftly addresses both large and small scale disasters by pairing the transition from childhood to adulthood with a global environmental crisis. In the world of Thompson’s novel, eleven-year old Julia and her family wake one morning in southern California to discover, along with the rest of the world, that the earth’s rotation has begun to slow. This lengthening slowly increases, increasing the length of day and night, and bringing with it fears of ecological disaster, social strife and the end of the world. What better way to illustrate the turbulence of adolescence than a major global catastrophe?
This unstable world with its ever changing sense of time is a perfect backdrop for the little disasters in Julia’s life. In the up-and-down world of junior high, Julia’s relationships crumble, new ones form, and she becomes aware of loneliness and cruelty, as well as the redemptive powers of love and friendship. But in this world turned on its head, day and night have also become unstuck, disrupting the old rhythms of life. The strangeness of adolescence is mirrored in the uncanny changes of a world no longer predictable.
Walker’s novel is beautiful. Written in a soft-spoken first person point of view, her simple, direct language captures fear and anxiety for the future discovered in the little disasters in life, the small things we take as signs for the disasters to come. Which is worse? she seems to ask the reader, the end of a relationship, of society as we know it, of the world, or the worry that precedes it, starting from the first awareness of a problem?
Walker balances the greater conflict of her novel with more mundane tragedies, from the lies loved ones tell, to a nighttime snowfall, to a dead blue jay on the porch. By weighing these lighter tragedies against the more fantastic elements of the story, the reader feels the impact of these impossible events, and feels the changing of the world through the affect it has upon the characters.
Reviewed by Nathan
Portions of this review have been published or will be published in the Provo Orem Word.