10 April 2009

Fado nights

During my stay here in Lisbon I've had the luck of hearing some great Fado.

Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal. The music owes much to the concept known as saudade, meaning longing both for what has been lost, and for what has never been attained, which perhaps accounts for its emotional power. The people of Lisbon have nurtured this poignant music in back-street cafes and restaurants for over 150 years and it has altered little in that time.
There are lots of small places in the city playing every night but your best bet is walking around in Alfama in the evening (that’s where I heard it) and if you’re lucky can even hear it while walking its winding streets.
The other city that is famous for Fado is Coimbra, where it has developed its own lighter-hearted style. But I’ll have to save that for another trip!

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