Tag Archives: origins

Origin(s)

14 May

A Origem do Fado

Portal do Fado reports an event to promote the book A Origem do Fado, by José Alberto Sardinha. Sardinha’s book, the result of “22 years of research”, defends the Portuguese origin (singular) of fado, tracing its roots to sixteenth century narrative poetry. The thesis is explicitly presented in opposition to other accounts that trace fado’s origin in the Afro-Brazilian lundum and umbigada.

In Fado and the Place of Longing, I include a brief account of this longstanding debate, noting, to paraphrase Joaquim Pais de Brito, that ideological discourse remains the dominant key in fado discourse and that ideas of nation and national ownership are predominant. While the issue of national ownership is clearly of vital importance for many musicologists, historians and, it seems, lawyers, it is just as interesting to ask why this question persists so stubbornly in the discourse. What is the traumatic kernel, the nagging anxiety, at the heart of this debate? What does it tell us about loss and fear of loss?

The search for origins may well, as some have claimed, ultimately be doomed. But that that does not do away with whetever it is that drives that search. The shield of veridical “logic”, donned to guard against the essential fantasy of singular origin, also masks the feared undoing inaugurated by the event of loss.

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