“Nunca o Fado foi tão saudade como agora.” The Spirituality of Fado during the Pandemic.

Rarely personal and collective behaviours revealed such a commonality in human fears and lines of action as during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the ways in which the virus and governmental measures have hit singular communities couldn’t be more diverse. Artists belong to one of the most heavily impacted groups.Art is often meant to produce an income, but is definitely more than that. For many Fadistas, playing music is an essential activity in maintaining a psychophysical wellbeing. Fado often consists in a ritual therapy. After the light in Fado houses dims and the first notes cry out of Portuguese guitars, very powerful emotional catharses might happen. Sharing these moments can create strong communitarian bonds. And these are the reasons why many protagonists of the Fado world choose this (precarious) life-style. For Fadistas, not being able to express themselves through notes and “voltinhas” is like being impeded to deal with their inner selves, and being cut off from a nourishing social context. As I have been told during the lockdown: “Nunca o Fado foi tão saudade como agora.”Hoping this collective illness will be over soon, it is interesting to look at the teaching this unique, tiny bit of the universal human cultural experience could give us. Sociology and anthropology are nowadays stressing the importance of the fulfilment of individual and collective emotional and “spiritual” needs for the wellbeing of entire social groups. Did you ever think of finding an example of these practices in Fado?

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