The Goddesses of Fado

An archaeologist unearths the divine feminine, one archetype at a time...

After a day of wine tasting

riding the trolleys

and entering Lisbon's favorite spot 

to sample their legendary ports

it was time to experience another famous entertainment in Lisbon.....

the Fado.

The word Fado means fate. This haunting, unforgettable style of singing was born in Portugal and is known around the world; and while men do perform the Fado, it is sung mostly by women. As in many cultures, there is a word in Portuguese that doesn't translate into English. Saudade can be understood as homesickness, or nostalgia. The bittersweet longing that comes through in this genre of urban folk music results in songs about unrequited love. 

In the early 1800s a woman named Maria Severa was in love with a noble, the Count de Vimioso. When their forbidden affair came to an end, Maria roamed the streets and bars of the Barrio Alto, strumming her guitarra and singing her sorrows. Her style of belting out songs in cries and moans became a popular tradition that morphed into the Fado.

Some of the most famous Fado singers since Maria have been Amalia Rodrigues 
 Maria Teresa de Noronha
 and Mariza

One evening we wandered through a doorway in the Barrio Alto neighborhood of Lisbon. There, over a meal of grilled shrimp and a bottle of cold Vinho Verde in the shadows of a cavern-like room, 

we were transported by the sorrowful melodies and heartbreaking emotions of this mesmerizing genre. 

That evening, as I listened to these women's powerful, extraordinary voices, I knew they were channeling something otherworldly, 

and I was hearing the voice of the Goddess coming through.....

clear, strong and unforgettable.


  1. I have a passage from one of the novels I wrote in 2008 that I would love to share with you. My throat was very tight as I read your lovely words and was transported by your amazing images.

    1. Suze,

      Please forward the passage. I look forward to reading it.



  2. Very romantic, in a sad kind of way, to sing one's heart out this way. You just opened a new door for me, and I must find this music.

  3. How interesting. I had not heard about the Fado before. I can only imagine the beauty of it.

  4. Hello! Very nice blog and interesting posts, great atmosphere.
      Have a nice day. :)
    Welcome to our blog about photography. +
    I hope you also enjoy it with us.


    "Do what you love is not even that, but anyway"

  5. I only learned about Fado recently, and so I was glad to read, see your photos and hear of your experience. Now I'm going to go and listen to one on YouTube again. I love thinking about this woman's voice, these women's voices, being the goddess.

  6. I have heard of Fado but never listened, but it sounds like I will love it. I'm off to Youtube to listen

  7. What a beautiful and haunting story. Maria's heartache lives on.

  8. I love Flamenco, and I love Fado too.


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