Wandering back to our flat tonight, after hearing some fado in a little bar near us, and seeing one of the singers walking ahead, on his way back too, but to a true home in the Alfama, not the temporary one we have at the top of a very steep flight of stairs, I was filled with nostalgia for something that’s not even mine. This happens to me often but only under a star-crossed set of circumstances. A place under street lamps, soft in the darkness, the memory of the Portuguese guitar and the voice, men talking in the narrow doorway of a tasca with an olive tree growing improbably on one side — how the heart yearns to belong to it.


Yesterday we spent the morning at the Fado Museum, a fascinating place. It gave me some context — political and culture — for the music. I can’t say I’ve heard a lot of it but I’ve heard recordings of Amalia Rodriguez and Mariza and love the darkly beautiful marriage of guitar and voice. It’s water from the deepest well. I bought some cds at the museum and also — because I knew I’d regret it if I hadn’t — a collection of sheet music of fado pieces to try sometime on my own.


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