Try to imagine the average Portuguese citizen coming home after a long day at the office and saying, “Hey, honey, I’m feeling a little too chipper tonight. Let’s go out to dinner and get depressed.”
And that brings us to the subject of Fado, Portugal’s most popular type of music.
Almost every restaurant in the country has a sign out front that says, “Fado tonight.” We were curious because we didn’t know anything about this type of traditional Portuguese music, so we chose a restaurant at random.
The word Fado is Portuguese for “fate” and the music features sad tunes and lyrics. No, not just sad. Mournful is a more accurate word. It explores feelings of resignation to fate, melancholy and loss — permanent, irreparable loss — and the damage it inflicts on your soul.
In other words, do not expect Katy Perry to show up on the Fado Hit Parade.
The music is sooooo sad that you don’t need to speak a word of Portuguese to understand the gut-wrenching emotion it expresses.
The restaurant we selected had two female Fado singers who were accompanied by two guitarists. The first singer performed two depressing solos and then went out into the street to smoke cigarettes while the second singer did two even more depressing solos. They alternated back and forth all evening, each one trying to drag the diners further into an emotional abyss.
By the time dessert is delivered to your table, you’ll want to use your steak knife to slash your wrists.
That’s how sad it is.