In 1987, Portuguese ensemble Madredeus ambitiously set out to create a contemporary yet distinctly Portuguese sound. While rehearsing in an old church in the Lisbon neighborhood of Madre de Deus, the group discovered Teresa Salgueiro singing fados in a bar. Like a true fadista, Salqueiro brings an elegant radiance that soars above unhurried guitar textures and interwoven concertina, cello, and synthesizer. O Espirito de Paz and Aida (the soundtrack to Wim Wender’s Lisbon Story) find Madredeus cultivating something that’s exquisite in its sadness, richly contemplative, and full of tradition but modern in its abstractions. Madredeus’ laments prove that the settings for dreams are sometimes the most sorrowful places. Madredeus plays at 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $22.50-27.50. (202) 994-6800. (John Dugan)