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Fado vs Flamenco

I arrived in Madeira and discovered fado music by the Coimbra fado group of the students union of the University of Madeira.

Before I arrived in Madeira, I used to spend a few hours a day listening, trying to understand and playing flamenco with my guitar. I discovered flamenco two years ago and love this music.

Before I first heard Fado I imagined I would like fado because I’m an open person to all music styles. Additionally, fado and flamenco share some features:

• They both come from Iberian Peninsula.

• There is evidence of flamenco since the 18th century, but it has ancient roots. In the case of fado, is has been performed since the 19th and there are people that relate fado with the songs of the previous navigators. So we can say that they are two recent music styles.

• Flamenco comes from the lower Andalusian classes of that period, specifically from the gypsy families that were often expelled from the cities, spreading flamenco art orally through different territories of Spain (They were illiterate). Fado comes also from the working classes and from sailors.

• Fado lyrics are about the life of the poor; with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholy. Flamenco lyrics are also about the life of the poor, the suppression of the working class (it was used against the fascists in the Spanish civil war), heart-breaking, but also has more cheerful ‘cantes’ (songs), which were used in parties.

• In flamenco we have the ‘cantes de ida y vuelta’ (We can translate it as round trip songs) and other ‘cantes’, that have influence of Caribbean music. Fado is also influenced by the ancient Portuguese colonies.

• Fado typically employs Dorian mode and Ionian mode and more recently Phrygian mode. Flamenco typically employs Phrygian mode and also Ionian and Aeolian modes. Fado employs double time and triple time rhythm, flamenco double, triple and mixes of double and triple time rhythms.

• Fado nowadays is played without dancing (even was danced in the past), in flamenco, on the other hand, dance is a fundamental discipline.

In my opinion fado doesn’t transmit the same feeling and it doesn’t have the same energy as flamenco. I like fado a lot, but flamenco is still my favourite.

Short Bio

David Salgado Funes, a volunteer from Barcelona. Amateur flamenco guitar player and audiovisual systems engineer, really interested in contemporary history, music and other artistic expressions, learning other languages and other cultures. Every day in Madeira I am learning a little bit more about its history and its people.


Erasmus+ is a programme of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the programme acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3, which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.
We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.