Canal March

Modinhas, the Origin of Fado

Os Músicos do Tejo: Ana Quintans, soprano; Marco Oliveira, guitar and voice; Miguel Amaral, portuguese guitar; Marcos Magalhães, harpsichord.

The history of Portugal has defined the character of its music, which was open to European, African and Brazilian influences. This mixture produced genres like the modinha, a sentimental song that originated in Portugal and Brazil and was cultivated in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. Modinhas were popular in courtly salons in Portugal and were written for one or two voices, accompanied by a harpsichord and a low-pitched stringed instrument that doubled the bass line. However, this genre, with its sentimental and romantic nature, evolved in two directions: one with features from the Italian opera aria and the other a simpler character. Here, a selection of modinhas and other Portuguese songs from the end of the eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries are performed, some of which can be considered precursors of the fado.

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