“Fado com História”

The venue

The venue

As I was meandering around the cobbled streets of Tavira, I spotted, several times, a leaflet in a shop window.  Always interested in a new venture, I went to find out more.  ” Fado com História” is situated in the heart of the old quarter, just beside the Misericordia Church and below the castle walls.  What I found delighted me.  If you’ve never experienced Fado, or think that it might not be for you, I can recommend you to this introduction.

Fado originated in Lisbon, and the show begins with a video featuring some of Portugal’s most famous Fado singers, so that you get a feel for the sound.  Most prominent among these was Amalia Rodrigues(1920-1999).  She said that “Fado has to be felt.  Fado isn’t sung, but just happens.  You feel it, you don’t understand it, nor can it be explained.”  Such passion did she arouse that, when she died, Portugal held 3 days of national mourning.

A wonderful live performance

A wonderful live performance

Nowadays Fado can be heard throughout Portugal, usually in an atmospheric bar or restaurant. “Fado com História” is a small venue, featuring a trio of live artists.  They include Virgilio Lanca, who plays guitar and makes most of the explanations in a soft voice.  He describes fado as “a song that gives you goosebumps”.  Miguel Drago plays Portuguese guitar, which has 12 metallic strings in groups of 2.  You could hear a pin drop as the two begin a guitarrada, demonstrating the ebb and flow of their art.

They are joined by a fadista, Teresa Viola, a lovely young woman with a beautiful voice.  She closes her eyes, takes a deep breath, and leans into the performance.  Accompanied by the guitarists she sings 4 or 5 fados, explaining the stories behind them.  The backdrop is a wall-sized photograph of a 1942 performance at Cafe Luso, in Lisbon, featuring the great Amalia.

The passion of the performers for their project is clearly evident, and at the end of the show they are happy to talk about it.  They are working in conjunction with the Fado Museum in Lisbon but have found a different way to present fado, and the live performances are key.

The museum is open from 10am to 5pm every day except Sundays, and a new show begins each hour.  Details are at http://www.fadocomhistoria.wix.com/fado .  I can only suggest that if you have the opportunity at any time you should go along.  You will be warmly welcomed.  This video is in Portuguese but is quite easy to follow.


    1. Spreading a little culture with the smiles this week, Madhu 🙂 🙂 Virgilio is such a nice guy and they are very talented artists who perform throughout Portugal. I felt compelled to give them a ‘shout’.

  1. Oh this is just wonderful Jo, thanks so much for sharing Fado, I’ve not heard of it. But I love Flamenco so I suppose it goes without saying I would enjoy this music too 🙂 I felt, for a few moments, that I was on holiday 😀

    1. You definitely need that trip south, girl! Hols and flights are cheap right now 🙂 🙂 I love that they’ve brought this to Tavira. These are well known musicians, who’ve played throughout Portugal.

  2. I’ve never heard of fado music Jo thank you for this introduction and yes I can definitely shut my eyes and imagine being in a bar with the lights down low and a nice glass of wine and some one you love (and maybe 20/30 years younger!!!) It is very emotional, from the heart type of music.

  3. I feel more connected to a place when I immerse myself in the customs – music food, etc. While the fado music isn’t something you would listen to every day, hearing it every now and then brings must you back to a place you love. Wonderful wonderful post, Jo.

    1. Thanks, Elisa 🙂 Virgilio was so enthusiastic about the project, which only started last December. It’s a thrill to connect with someone so talented. We have a couple of Fado CDs and sometimes put them on in the car when we’re travelling. You’re right- it brings you back to ‘home’. 🙂

  4. buongiorno Jo , il fado è la musica dell’anima, il canto più vero che ti accompagna ovunque in Portogallo, anche io lo adoro e mi fa molto piacere che tu abbia voluto dedicargli uno spazio sul tuo bolg
    ti auguro un lieto giovedì, e ti abbraccio con affetto

    1. Happy Thursday to you too, Annalisa 🙂 I knew you would love this soulful kind of music. It’s not for everybody but I love the atmosphere it creates and the instruments. Un bacio, cara!

    1. I love the soulfulness, Sue! 🙂 The older style can be a bit mournful but I love the atmosphere it creates, and the way you’re pulled right in. Thanks for reading! Good week so far?

  5. I enjoyed this style of music and am grateful for your description and history, too. I enjoy flamenco and other styles of Spanish music, also enjoy Italian opera, so this is a great addition to my musical choices. Thanks, Jo!

      1. I am so glad others said it was sad and you used the word, “mournful,” since it may sound like I didn’t like it if I were to describe this so. Jo, this music pulls somewhere deep in my ‘gut.’

  6. I am quite open minded to music, and this is okay to listen but sometimes a lot happens in one movement and to me just sounds like noise….but enjoyed most… I went to Greece years back and listened to a lot of Greek music, balalaikas etc,, live they were good…

    1. It’s an acquired taste, Gerry. It’s evolving a little from the old style and if you’re sat in a bar with a nice atmosphere you’d be happy to join in. I have fond memories of Greek music too (and smashing the odd plate 🙂 ) Thanks for giving it your time.

    1. I’m really glad you like it, Tish 🙂 It’s not to everyone’s taste and some of it is a little mournful, even for me. This is a really good project though, which deserves support.

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