The Lisbon of Fado

Wed, 17.10.2018

An afternoon surrounded by History and Music

On the last tour on the 17th of October our language school organized a walking tour about the Fado’s History.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, guided us in this tour. We started in Mouraria, more precisely in Rua do Capelão. In this street lived and died Severa. She was a prostitute and a talented fadista. During her life she felt in love with the count of Vimioso and their love history was a theme for many fados. Unfortunately, the romance didn’t last too long, because the count left her for a gipsy. Severa died with only 26 years old, alone and very poor.

But why the Fado flourished and was spread in Mouraria and Alfama? According to some musicologists, the Fado has an African-Brazilian origin. After a long period in Rio de Janeiro, the Portuguese royal family reestablished in Lisbon. They brought many African slaves that were moved to Mouraria and Alfama. In these areas they started to dance the Fado and, with the evolution of the times, the Fado was turned into music.

Then, we visited the Mural Amália made by the urban artist Vhils. Amália is the most international fadista. She was born in 1920 and performed for the first time with only 19 years old in the Retiro da Severa. She immediately became famous. Her unique voice and the way she sang the Fado made some changes in the way of performing it. The gestures with the hands while she was singing and the use of the shawl (Xaile) were introduced by her.

After the tour we went to a Tasca of Fado, where we had the opportunity to watch a Fado’s performance. We had such a good time there!

Below you can check out the photos of the tour:


A walking tour through the origins of Fado

Fado is definitely a worldwide known symbol of Portugal. Most of you probably have already listened to some Fado songs from Fadistas like Amália Rodrigues. But, what do you know about its origins and History? You’ll find out in this tour on the 17th of October.

Our history teacher, Indira Leão, will guide us through one of the most iconic symbols of Lisbon. The Fado music popularized in Mouraria and Alfama during the second half of the 19th century. We don’t know for sure how Fado appeared, but some experts have the theory that it was brought by Brazilian’s slaves.

We’ll start this amazing journey in Mouraria, one of the birthplaces of Fado. In the second half of the 19th century, Severa, the most popular Cantandeira de Fado lived and died here. She was a prostitute that became famous thanks to her vocal talents and to her relationship with the count of Vimioso. The morality of that time forbade the honourable women of singing and performing in public. That’s why many Fado singers before the 20th century were prostitutes.

Ten, we’ll go to the popular neighbourhood of Alfama. It was also in this place that the Fado spread and rooted. We’ll have the opportunity to visit the mural, made with cobblestones, called Amália, made by the urban artist Vhils. Amália is the most recognized Fadista outside Portugal. She started her career with only 19 years old and introduced a different way of perform Fado.

We’ll end this tour perfectly in a nice tasca de fado! It will be the perfect occasion to know and appreciate the Fado music.

Join us in this tour and keep in touch with our website to have a look at our weekly school events.