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News and voices from Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Lana‘i, Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i.

The Melancholy Music of Fado Comes to Maui

Maui is getting a taste of Portuguese folk music this weekend with a performance by Fado singer Ramana Vieria.

Fado, which roughly translates to “Fate”, is a style best known for very delicate, melancholy, ballads about love and loss.  It’s often described as the Portuguese equivalent of “The Blues”… and went on to influence Bossa Nova and some Hawaiian music. with roots traced back  to the 1920’s.

Today the music is still performed as it was back then… in small locals taverns with singers taking turns evoking tales of sailors lost at sea, political strife, and other everyday hardship.  Much of the lyrical content centers on the concept of “saudade” a feeling of unquenchable longing. Vieria says that sense of loss makes the music both beautiful as well as haunting.

Vieria was born in San Leandro, California, to Portuguese immigrants, and was exposed to the voices of Portugal’s past at a young age.  She’s developed a modern approach to Fado, and was called as the “New Voice of Portuguese World Music” by Mundo Portuguese newspaper.

Ramana Vieria performs a series of community outreach events at Maui libraries on Saturday.  Then on Sunday at with her ensemble at Casanova in Makawao at from 3-5pm.  Tickets are available here. 

Nick Yee’s passion for music developed at an early age, as he collected jazz and rock records pulled from dusty locations while growing up in both Southern California and Honolulu. In college he started DJing around Honolulu, playing Jazz and Bossa Nova sets at various lounges and clubs under the name dj mr.nick. He started to incorporate Downtempo, House and Breaks into his sets as his popularity grew, eventually getting DJ residences at different Chinatown locations. To this day, he is a fixture in the Honolulu underground club scene, where his live sets are famous for being able to link musical and cultural boundaries, starting mellow and building the audience into a frenzy while steering free of mainstream clichés.
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