Fado and the Portuguese concept of 'saudade'

Portuguese has a concept known as ‘saudade’ which, so I’ve been told, cannot be properly translated into English without lengthy explanation. This sentiment is often expressed in a music genre particular to Portugal called Fado (pronounced /'fadu/), which you can read about here

One of the most famous Fado singers is Mariza, one of whose most famous songs, called ‘Ó Gente da Minha Terra’, can be read and listened to here


If you know Spanish, Italian or French you should be able to understand at least some of the song reading. I first heard Mariza’s music in a city tour bus when I was in Oporto in spring of 2008, and I was blown away. As the title of the YouTube video suggests, ‘Fabuloso e Arrepiante!’

I love the concept of saudade and for me it’s a specific feeling that can’t be given any other name. That’s what I love about learning another language (especially such a beautiful one as Portuguese). Sometimes it gives me ways of expressing an aspect of myself that I cannot express in English.