Most English-speaking readers of this book would ideally like to read the texts of fado songs in Portuguese, but since relatively few of us have a sufficient command of the language, what we need is faithful translations that elucidate exactly what the meaning of the original texts is. However, what we actually get in this book is far removed from this. Each translator has taken the original Portuguese text of a fado and used it as a starting point for his or her own self-indulgent musings that end up having virtually nothing to do with the original texts at all. I expect few fado devotees are remotely interested in the creative endeavours of a bunch of English-language poets more interested in themselves than in the original texts. All fado devotees are looking for is literal translations of the texts, many of which are of exceptional poetic merit, in the manner of a Penguin Classics translation, i.e. word for word and completely literal. This book fails completely in this regard and merely serves as a vehicle for ego-trips on the part of poets more interested in their own navel-gazing than in the texts that have supposedly served as their starting points. Thoroughly disappointing.
Copy or Each original Portugese Fado Poetry, and English translation, some closer to word for word than others. A true word to word translation may have also helped, as can not feel that something has been lost in some of the more 'poetic licence' translations. But as it says Saudade hard to explain. A missed oportunity so to do?
Speaking as one of the translators, from time to time I buy a copy of this anthology which was prepared by the Caluste Gulbenkian Foundation in London, to give as a present. It is a great collection, with the original Portuguese lyruics on one page, translations on the facing page and a translator's note from each contributor.