Fado is a Portuguese word meaning Fate or Destiny. And the fates were certainly smiling on me last night when my cousin (whose husband is away at Spring Training) invited me to a concert at Disney Hall. I'd never heard of fado before, but it will be a long time before I forget it. Thought of as the Portuguese blues, fado embodies the spirit of "saudade" a word loosely translated as longing or separation.
Mariza, the acknowledged Queen of Fado is the most amazing thing I've seen in years. She is like something from another world, another time. A magical chanteuse who voice transcends any I've ever heard before. Plaintive and joyful; as gentle as a whisper and as powerful as a cry to the heavens. She is simply mesmerizing to watch with the most elegant and evocative arm; hand and finger movements - the perfect blending of a prima ballerina performing the White Swan, a flamenco dancer and a high priestess performing an ancient rite.
I was lucky enough to see her with the most talented musicians as well. Portuguese (a type of instrument similar to a mandolin), acoustic and bass guitarists, a fabulous drummer/percussionist and a Brit who played keyboard, piano and a haunting muted trumpet. They were the same musicians that are in this video. And being able to hear her in a world class house was such a treat. The Disney Hall seats 2400 guests, but feels as intimate as a nightclub. We were lucky enough to be seated in the second row, from which I could see every gesture, every catch every inflection and study every pluck of every guitar string.
After the concert was "over", the musicians all came back for an encore when the fadista surprised us with Cry Me A River and later by singing her final Fado song acoustically (without amplification). It was just a magical evening and one that I treasure.