FADO – The essence of Lisbon

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Fado is traditional folk music popular in the Lisbon area of Portugal. Melancholy by nature, the music includes instruments like guitars and mandolins with one Fadista singing poetic lyrics related to darker elements of love, death and sadness. The music may, however, occasionally include some humor. If your late season travel includes Portugal, be sure sure your experience includes Fado.

New to Fado? Here are five facts about Portugal’s beloved cultural music:

  • Fado’s roots can be traced back to the early 1800’s and originated in Portugal, but only appeared in Lisbon after 1830.
  • The word Fado comes from the Latin word fatum, from which the English word fate also comes from.
  • Fado was added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage on November 27, 2011.
  • There are two types of Fado, one found in Lisbon, one in Coimbra. The style heard in Lisbon is the most popular, while in Coimbra, it is a more classic style.
  • If you’re in Coimbra and enjoying a Fado performance, cough as though you are clearing your throat. But if you’re in Lisbon, clap your hands.

Many Fadistas perform in restaurants so you can get a great meal while enjoying this moving music. What’s great about self guided travel is that meals are always at your leisure, meaning you can search out the best places in Portugal for Fado. If you haven’t heard Fado before, look for samples of Amalia Rodrigues for more traditional Fado or Cristina Branco for more contemporary Fado (so that you can search out these performers prior to your trip). Here are Pure Adventures’ top picks for Fado in Lisbon, Portugal:

 Clube do Fado in Alfama, undeniably offering the best live performances of Fado in Portugal

The Fado Museum, where you can research the origins of this music genre in the museum’s documentation centre.

Sr. Fado de Alfama, located in Alfama, is owned by Fado singer Ana Marina and fado violinist Duarte Santos. Home-cooked meals and local wine star alongside Fado performances by Sr. Fado’s owners!

Experience fado by contact us to create your own custom trip in Lisbon.

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