Fernando Teles Fazendeiro Ambassador of Portugal
Camoes and the Portuguese Communities is celebrated officially, on the 10th of June. The central figure to the commemorations is the poet Luis Vaz de Camoes, therefore the day chosen is that of his death, thought to be in 1580. His epic, first published in 1572, narrates Vasco de Gama’s journey of discovery on the Maritime Route to India in 1498/99, the History of Portugal and its Heroes.
As such, the Portuguese pay homage to their Culture and, fundamentally, to the Portuguese Language, Portugals most important heritage, the dispersal of which over five continents gives it a global projection and made it one of the most important languages in the World. In 2019, we also commemorate the centenary of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen’s birth, the most famous female Portuguese poet and writer of the last century, an incomparable literary figure and a remarkable example of citizenship.
The Portuguese and Romanians share the same civilizational and linguistic roots, based in their Latinity. Looking first toward this common denominator, it seemed pertinent to celebrate the Day of Portugal in Bucharest with the Song/Fado of Coimbra. A unique form of celebrating Poetry. Today, you will have the opportunity to experience this in a concert by three of its great performers: Ricardo Dias on Portuguese Guitar, Nuno Silva on vocals and Luis Ferreirinha on Classical Guitar, to whom I am grateful for their interest in this project. It is an excellent testament to Fado as part of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2011.
Besides Fado, the city of Coimbra was the first capital of the Kingdom of Portugal and where our First King Afonso Henriques is buried. It also hosts one of the oldest universities in Europe, which was the only Portuguese university from the end of the 18th century to the beginning of the 20th. Therefore, this prominent presence of history and, above all, the connection to the University, brought unique features to the Fado of Coimbra.
I would like to thank the National Radio of Romania for their availability. Many thanks to Daniela Mirodone from the Centre for Portuguese Language Studies of the University of Bucharest and to Naomi Teles Fazendeiro for their translations of the song lyrics into Romanian and English respectively. Further thanks are due to the sponsor companies ParkLAKE/SONAE SIERRA, EDP Renewables and Pragosa, whose financial contributions were essential to carrying out this National Day, which is also a way of celebrating the friendship between Portugal and Romania.