Saturday, April 26, 2008
Celebrating April 25th with a Spanish director and musicians from three continents
Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of the peaceful overthrowing of Salazar's fascist dictatorship that crippled Portugal for 48 years. Today, by happy coincidence, the San Francisco International Film Festival was showing Fados by Spanish director Carlos Saura. Growing up during Salazar's decline and his colonial war in Africa, fado was for many of my generation backward, sentimental, reactionary. Except that a few musicians like Zeca Afonso in Portugal and Chico Buarque in Brasil knew better. With Chico Buarque's Fado Tropical superimposed on historic footage of the military and popular movement that overthrew the dictatorship (it was so strange to feel that almost surely some of the faces in those scenes were those of people we knew), Saura brings out simultaneously the hope of that movement 34 years ago, the wounds of Portugal's colonial history, and the reborn hope that fado is not just nostalgia, but also a deep stream from the past into the future of the living music of three continents.