Fado | Chicago Reader

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Instead of getting academic experts to comment on fado, the melancholy genre of Portuguese popular song, Danish director Anders Leifer wisely lets the performers in a Lisbon bar explain and demonstrate the music's tragic charm. One singer walks us through his old neighborhood, lamenting that so many houses are now empty, and later explicates the physical gestures—such as beating one's breast—that are an essential part of these expressive performances. Another singer only began to perform publicly once death overruled the objections of her husband. Most of this 2003 video is in black and white, which seems perfect for the cramped, gritty neighborhood where fado thrives—it's the music that adds color. In Portuguese with subtitles. 60 min.

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