The dark side of Fado: Portugese music set to dance 'for first time' at Rose

Darker Shade of Fado Photo: Nuno Santos Nuno Silva and Sonja Perreten

Darker Shade of Fado Photo: Nuno Santos Nuno Silva and Sonja Perreten

First published in News This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

One night 10 years ago, Nuno Silva was in his hotel room while touring and could not sleep.

“I turned on the television and I saw this woman singing fado on Jools Holland,” he says.

“It was beautiful.

“Her voice was so powerful and her movement was very expressive.”

That performance was the catalyst for Silva’s new show, A Darker Shade of Fado, which comes to the Rose Theatre this month.

Fado, meaning fate, is a traditional type of song from Silva’s native Portugal.

It first appeared in the 1830s, from the port districts of Lisbon, although how it originated is still something of a mystery.

“Some people say it came from Brazil at the time of discovery, some say it came from the Arabs, others say France,” says Silva.

“I think all those traditional influences are there.

“But unlike flamenco or tango, which has the music, the singing and the dance, Fado had the music, but no dance.

“I wanted to take fado forward, so it has singing and also dance.

“So I will be singing fado and dancing fado, which nobody has done before.”

Another influence in a Darker Shade of Fado is the work of Portuguese poet Fernado Pessoa, creator of the heteronym.

Unlike a standard non-de-plume, a heteronym is a character the writer themselves inhabit, allowing them to create their own writing styles, biographies and influences.

“Pessoa had a love interest, but he couldn’t quite speak to her, so he created heteronyms to express it,” says Silva.

“This story is similar in a way.”

A Darker Shade of Fado is, in essence, a mystical love story about a skilled craftsman who makes musical instruments, who falls in love with a girl who asks him to mend her guitar.

The touring show comes to the Rose Theatre for one night only on May 18 – and there’s another reason why audiences should not miss out.

“We’ve had a really great response from the audiences,” says Silva.

“We’ve also got the support of a Portuguese shop called Delicias.

"They have been coming with us to most venues and they are giving out free samples of Portuguese wine and food to enjoy during the show – and I believe they are coming with us to Kingston.”

A Darker Shade of Fado, Rose Theatre, High Street, Kingston, Sunday, May 18, 7.30pm, £15. Visit rosetheatre kingston. org or call 08444 821556.

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