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A short story about fado packs in history, atmosphere and emotion.


Fado star Marisa dos Reis Nunes ComIH goes by the stage name Mariza.

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier here, thinking about concision. In writing, the skill of being concise is widely praised—and in newspaper journalism it is often an imperative. But squeezing information into a limited number of intriguing, readable words isn’t easy.

That’s what impressed me this week about staff writer Agata Popęda’s story about famed Portuguese fado singer Mariza, who will perform Tuesday at the Sunset Center. In just half a page (I won’t bore you with a discussion about word count), Popęda manages to give readers the basic background on fado’s history and Mariza’s life and career within the genre, as well as offering a sense of what the music actually sounds like. 

“Fado means fate and is a sign of all those things that break you and build you in life,” Popęda writes. “You can cry about it or—as residents of Lisbon have been doing since the 19th century—you can sing out your worries and dance out your heartbreak. Fado is guaranteed to clean your melancholy away.”

Like fado packs an emotional punch, this small but mighty story packs background information and atmosphere. It may also entice you, as it did me, to explore Mariza’s music.

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