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Art, Music, and Food of Portugal

In May of two-thousand-thirteen, my wife and I toured Portugal and Spain. We began our visit to the Iberian Peninsula in Lisbon, Portugal. In Spain and Portugal if there was a large intersection with a traffic circle at the center, there were statues. These sculptures were works of art, which were memorials to an important historical person or an event.

We visited Portugal for four days. In that short time, we visited castles, a royal coach museum, and a monument to Henry the Navigator and all the explorers of the fifteenth-century.

In Lisbon, we enjoyed an impromptu event known as fado. Fado is Portuguese word, the (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈfaðu], "destiny, fate").

In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a characteristic sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia (loosely captured by the word saudade, or "longing"). However, although the origins are difficult to trace, today fado is regarded, by many, as simply a form of song, which can be about anything, but must follow a certain structure. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade, which symbolizes the feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent lifelong damage). The above content is from the Wikipedia website.

The fado we attended took place in a small local restaurant located on a back street of Lisbon. Our tour group consisted, of about forty tourists. The members of our group were elbow to elbow, with just enough room for the musicians.
The food served before and during the musical performance was local Portuguese fare, consisted of Anchovies, Sardines, and Lamb. The Anchovies were not the small boney fish packed in a can we are used to in America. The Anchovies were delicious, were not boney or salty. The Sardines were very large fish and very tasty, unlike the canned varieties available in the United States. Most of the tourist in our group including myself had never liked these two fish choices, until that night.

The fado musicians were very accomplished. They not only presented the fado musical style to the assembled group, but also endeared us with their wit and their humorous natures. Our tourist group so enjoyed and entertained by the performances, almost all of us purchased the compact disks offered for sale by the performers

Fado reminded me of the folk music of the nineteen-sixties. The fado told stories like folk music. The fado story lines in a poetic form of music, the narrative of fado could be distilled to this; she or he loved or lost love, and then they died. Even if each song told a happy story, in fado, it seemed to always end and then they died. The musical anecdotes of fado chronicled everyday life experiences in Portugal.

Our time in Portugal accomplished three things: First, it expanded our culinary experiences. Two the music of fado introduced us to genera of musical composition unknown to us. In addition, the art of Portugal, taught us of it history.
Our experiences in Portugal instructed us that culture is experience best in art, music, and food. The art of a culture, speaks what the society beliefs and what is important to them. The music of a people expresses their hearts. Finally, the food of a civilization conveys what the people enjoy.