Have you ever listened to Fado, the traditional semi-classical Portuguese style of music? Now meet its face in India, Sonia Shirsat. The “fadista”, with a mellifluous voice that takes you places, has performed across the world and is considered the greatest representative of Fado from Goa.

In the video above, Shirsat recounts how she once considered Fado too old-world for her liking. Her mother was the only one who sang in the Fado style in the Goan temple town of Ponda, where she grew up. But when she was compelled to sing the Fado for a concert, maestro Antonio Chainho, a master Portuguese guitarist, told her “you have a voice for the Fado”.

This praise worked its magic – after the concert, there was no looking back for Shirsat, who plunged right into the musical style she had grown up listening to her mother sing all day long.

“When I try to analyse what Fado means to me, it gets very difficult to put it into words,” Shirsat said. “Because it is not just a genre, it sort of plays the strings of my heart.”