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The Sounds of Portugal

Analise Saab Brown, Elisia and Mark Saab of Lowell Photo by Lowell Sun/Dacey Zouzas
The Saab family, from left, Analise Saab Brown, Elisia and Mark Saab of Lowell.

Lowell Sun
By Dacey Zouzas

LOWELL — The UMass Lowell Saab Center for Portuguese Studies, in partnership with the Portuguese/American Culture Exchange, hosted on Nov. 3 “The Sounds of Portugal.” It was an evening of “fado” with Joana Amendoeira and Duarte at Durgin Hall, UMass Lowell.

Fado (fate) is a musical genre that can be traced to the 1820s in Lisbon, Portugal, but probably had much earlier origins. Today, fado is simply a form of song that must follow certain traditional structures, characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholy, according to Wikipedia.

More than 350 fado enthusiasts were mesmerized while listing to the concert, preceded by a private VIP reception for 140 guests who were able to meet and greet the artists before the show while enjoying an abundance of traditional scrumptious Portuguese desserts and delicacies. The specialty, especially for seafood lovers, was the paella and cod fritters, prepared in front of the guests and served by UMass Lowell's Aramark chefs.

The Saab Center for Portuguese Studies at UMass Lowell is named after well-known and extremely generous philanthropists Mark and Elisia Saab and family of Lowell, who have given to numerous organizations and charities throughout the area.

The Saab Center is an academic and cultural unit within the College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences that bridges the gap between the campus and the surrounding area by promoting initiatives that enhance the presence and visibility of Portuguese culture and community. The center promotes the multidisciplinary study of the language, literature and culture of Portugal, while acknowledging the vast and varied Portuguese-speaking world of more than 250 million people on four continents and its diaspora in the United States in general, and the Merrimack Valley in particular.

This single event raised $40,470.