Portuguese fado
Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon’s Sara Correia is a breathtaking talent hailed as the leading voice of the new generation of fado singers. After winning the Portugal’s Grande Noite do Fado in 2006 at only 13 years old, Correia has emerged as a fadista able to captivate any audience, from the neighborhood club to the international concert stage, with the music fittingly called “the soul of Portuguese people.”

Fado, which means “fate” or “destiny,” emerged from the bustling cafes of Lisbon in the early nineteenth century. The emotional core of fado is saudade, an indefinable yearning or nostalgia for love, times past, or a lost home, delivered with a raw emotion that transcends language.

Sara Correia grew up in the multiracial working-class Lisbon neighborhood of Chelas, where traditional fado and contemporary hip hop were equally popular ways to express the complex realities of modern life. Sara attended fado houses with her family from infancy. At age eight, inspired by the singing of her aunt Joana Correia (who had won the Grande Noite do Fado a decade before) Sara sought out training at the local Clube Lisboa Amigos do Fado. Following her national competition win, teenage Sara received an invitation to sing regularly at the Casa de Linhares, a legendary “fado house” where she honed her craft singing with and learning from many of Lisbon’s finest master singers. The fado house, she says, is “where we conquer the experience of singing, where we face night after night of singing as the most important thing in our lives.”

A fado ensemble surrounds its singer with exquisite guitar work, played on a trio of stringed instruments. Accompanying Sara Correia are three supremely talented musicians who have supported her since the beginning of her career: Ângelo Freire on 12-string Portuguese guitar, Frederico Gato on acoustic bass, and her producer Diogo Clemente on classical fado guitar. As Clemente says of his friend Correia, “Fado isn’t something you sing for an audience. It’s something you sing because you need to. And everyone can feel the roots in Sara’s voice.”


Sara Correia's performance is made possible by the generous support of the Saab Family Foundation and the Saab Center for Portuguese Studies.