4 days - June 13-16 2013
Fado, Portugal’s most distinctive music, was born less than 200 years ago in Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. ‘Maria Lisboa’, one of the most famous fados, popularised by Amália Rodrigues and, more recently Mariza, is a song about Lisbon and its dependence on the sea. The earliest mentions of fado in Lisbon date from the 1820s, soon after the Portuguese king and his court returned from exile in Brazil, and the name comes from an Afro-Brazilian dance. But in the multicultural environment of Lisbon’s port it evolved into the often melancholic song form we know today.
For the last decade or so, there’s been a real revival of interest in fado, with Mariza at the forefront of a new generation of artists bringing new life to the music. On this trip we’ll experience fado as the locals enjoy it, in some of the best fado tavernas and clubs. Each venue has its own atmosphere and character so you’ll get a good taste of the city’s scene. We’ll visit the excellent Museum of Fado and the Portuguese Guitar, the former home of Amália Rodrigues (1920-1999) - the ‘Queen of Fado’ - and enjoy a walking trip through the historic fado districts of Alfama and Mouraria.
The Lisbon fado scene is very active, and it’s difficult to know in advance where the best music is going to be. But we have good contacts on the ground. We may also divide the group up so we can get into the smaller and more atmospheric venues. And don’t forget, Lisbon is also a fantastic place for Brazilian and Cape Verdean music.
All Songlines Music Travellers will receive an information sheet about the local music, plus recommended recordings and DVDs.
Day 1 Thurs
Lisbon sits on the banks of the river Tejo, but as you’ll see from the plane, it’s so wide here, it’s almost like the sea. And through fishing, exploration and trade, the sea has dominated the history of the city. After transferring to our hotel, you’ll meet your Songlines Travel Leader to find out the detailed plans for the weekend. In the evening, after dinner, we will head out to our first fado venue for a taste of the music that will dominate the weekend.
Day 2 Fri
After breakfast we’ll have our walking tour through Alfama and Mouraria, the historic fado districts – including the house of Maria Severa (1820-46) the first ‘star’ of fado. Then there’s a chance for a tram ride, lunch and time to get a taste of other quarters of the city – Baixa and Bairro Alto – before returning to Alfama for a visit to the Fado Museum which has an excellent permanent exhibition devoted to the history of fado, as well as an excellent CD shop. In the evening dinner and a different fado venue or music of a different kind in one of the Brazilian or Cape Verdean venues. The bars and restaurants of Bairro Alto are very lively on Friday and Saturday nights.
Day 3 Sat
This morning is left free for you to explore as you wish – perhaps a stroll around Baixa and a ride up in the Elevador de Santa Justa. There are lots of good coffee shops at the top and bottom. In the afternoon we’ll pay a visit to the house of Amália Rodrigues. After dinner we’ll venture out to a different fado venue or music in one of the Brazilian or Cape Verdean venues.
Day 4 Sun
A last morning in the city before we take our flight back to the UK.
Tour price (excl flights) £485 per person
For information and reservations, call Songlines Music Travel on 020 8505 2582