"Fado -a traditional music of the country" Top 5 Page for this destination Lisbon Travelogue by a2lopes

Lisbon Travel Guide: 5,236 reviews and 12,987 photos

One of the aspects of Lisbon's nightlife that makes it unique are its Fado houses. These intimate venues often serve traditional homemade food and drinks and host folk and acoustic musicians playing the traditional music of the country.
After this “introduction” and if you don’t know me maybe you think “this guy is trying to sell something”. BUT, on the other hand, YES Fado houses are Lisbon's biggest tourist traps, with overpriced food and often with amateurish singers.

So let start from the beginning.
For some introduction to the theme please read these articles from wikipedia and from fado.com.

There’s a big difference between the fado played in Lisbon and the fado from Coimbra and I know that for a foreigner starting with Lisbon fado it’s more suitable.
There are lots of good singers/performers. Historically Amália Rodrigues it’s the epitome of the female fado singer and Carlos do Carmo the equivalent for men (still alive and in “good shape”). But some younger singers as Mariza, Kátia Guerreiro, and Camané are very good. You can find loads of things to listen. Just google fado + youtube + “name” and you will see.
The art of playing the Portuguese guitar is also a great one. Carlos Paredes was one of the best.

Be aware that we must listening fado in silent and with big groups this is virtually impossible

Some personal choices in Lisbon:

"Senhor Vinho" (Mr wine) in the Lapa district;

in Alfama (larger concentration of fado houses):
"Clube do Fado" near Lisbon Cathedral and a bunch of good players and singers. One of the resident players is Mário Pacheco, personally one of the best at the present (recently owner of the prize for the best fado composer);
"Casa de Linhares" in a house that remains from a building that fell into ruins with the 1755 earthquake - good cod fish;
"Parreirinha da Alfama" a small and intimate room but here the singers/players are always a great deal. Moreover, "caldo verde", a green soup and the "Porco à alentejana" pork meat with fried potato and clams are a must.

A place out of the costly circuit of fado houses which I choose for a Lisbon “fado meeting” it is a good option for both food and singers (some pro some amateurs) and the price is fair. This place is running only on Thursdays -Restaurante "A Nini".

I even went some times with guests to a small place in Alfama -Restaurante A Baiuca- where the nice thing is that anybody (with guts) may get up and sing what we call Fado "vadio" (loosely translated as vagrant / vagabond but that means "amateur" in fado's language) perform. The space is small (and the food it's basic but honest) but overall it's one of the most original fado experiences in Lisbon. "Of course" is out of the tourist guides.

Another nice experience is a visit to Fado Museum (in Alfama close to the fountain "Chafariz de Dentro") with all sorts of things related to Fado. They are open 10am-2am fri-sun and if you are lucky maybe they have a nice performance there (check first).

Enjoy the experience

  • Page Updated Apr 11, 2009
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