Folk Singers: The Joys of Suffering

Fados, the bittersweet songs of Portugal, are like rare vintage wines: they don't travel well. They are best savored in the small lantern-lit taverns tucked away in the cobblestone alleys of old Lisbon. There, in an atmosphere drenched with pathos and the aroma of musky wine and spicy sausages, the black-draped fadistas cry out in voices quavering with anguish. Against a back ground of weeping guitars, they sing of sin and love gone wrong, of wasted lives and impending doom. Fado means destiny, and its baleful laments are more than the...