Portuguese Dance & Music 101

Revolution, ritual, festival, and individual have all been incited by the magic of music. It is meant to evoke memory, emotion, and body movement. Portugal is notorious for Fado music. Fado is not as sad, as people think. Fado is spiritual. A genre of music exclusive of dance, in the normal sense, because Fado dances in the soul. Music and dance in Portugal have their own lineage and instruments:
the bagpipe (Gaita de fole), the accordion (acordeão) and guitars (cavaquinho and 12 string Portuguese), to name a few. Portuguese history vaguely recognizes its' Gaelic origins.In northern regions of the country you can hear bagpipes and see related styles of Gaelic dance. A traditional Portuguese dance is 'Fandango.' This music and dance are not credited as having Celtic roots, but originally was played in the same 6/8 tempo. Fandango includes stationary arms, rapid leg movement and a lineup of steppers.
Since the medieval era, variations of Fandango spread through villages. 'Fandago do Varapau' includes long sticks and men fighting off make believe vermin. Portuguese music and dance don't stop getting jiggy with ancient Irish roots. Originating hundreds of years earlier, Fandago is likely the basis for the C-Walk in America. (Shout out to Lisbon's sister city San Francisco.)
Minho, Portugal is home to 'Vira do Minho.' A waltz inspired square dance that has its own style of mountain music. It sounds like yodeling with accordions and a whining child singing in the background. People enjoy the sound, meanwhile dancing joyfully with hands in the air and big dresses that will give you heat stroke. In the former colony of Goa, on the central coast of India, a dance known as Malhão is still performed by Goan youth. Here in Portugal it is known as 'Corrindinho,' the running dance. Believe it or not, it translates to, "I am outta here because I do not want to sleep with you!" Who wants to run around dancing? We do and we like it. It looks neat at least. Preformed at folk fairs, couples dress in old clothes and spin at lightning speed. In Goa, they have a variation- dancing with a fiery lamp on your head. Fun to watch and after a couple drinks, try it for yourself. Farther east, the Hawaiian islands, owe their beloved 'ukuele, or 'machête' to the Portuguese who left it there in the mid 1800's. Because of the machête, Hawaiians developed another form of Hula known as the 'auana to incorporate this musical instrument.
Recent dance and music in Portugal have been adopted from its youngest generation and melting pot of cultures. New musical genres are seen as a cultural movement, rather than mere dance. The newest and worst is the 'Pimba Movement.' Pimba translates to 'bad music' and sounds like a horrible carnival in Mexico. Xylophones and tacky mariachis included. One particular man is noted for starting the Pimba Movement, Emanuel. Thank god for the islands! After the Portuguese war and its revolution in 1974, colonies separated from Portuguese rule and people were split between country and family. Socialism was the norm and music followed. On the Cape Verdean islands of Portugal the music of Funaná resonates like the rhythm of the surrounding ocean. Like Morna, the national music of Cape Verde; Funaná is creole in nature, but exact nativity are unknown. Normally, Funaná is played with basic instruments like the ferrinho (a small circular washboard, made out of wood.) Closely linked to Funaná is Kizomba. A genre of music and dance from Angola and other former colonies of Portugal - the Kizomba is a mix of the Tango and Samba.
A smooth and sensual dance with hip gyrations and extremely close contact.
Kizomba has been gaining momentum in dance competitions and African music clubs around Lisbon.
If you want to dance like a local find your way to MUSSULO on Tuesday-Saturday until 6am. No sneakers inside this club, so dress yo-self! Rua Sousa Martins 5-D, one block south of Picoas metro station, east of Parque Eduardo VII. Corresponding with regional bullfighting schedules; small towns and provinces outside of Lisbon, hold countless folk festivals during summer months. Check regional websites for monthly agendas http://cultura.sapo.pt/ August 1st-8th is the 26th annual World Folklore Festival 'oMundoaDançar' in Monção.