To celebrate the annual festival held in Lisbon every June, in honour of Portugal’s patron saint, Santo Antonio, Caffeine Nights hosted a special fado themed show this weekend.
Santo Antonio is considered to be many extraordinary things, most commonly the keeper of lost things. However in Portugal he has a specific yet vast role, including that of a defender of animals, a healer, the guardian of good marriages and the protector of the souls of purgatory.
And in case you’re not familiar with Portugal’s national music style, here’s a little history on the story of Fado:
FADO, a type of Portuguese singing, traditionally associated with pubs and cafés, that is renowned for its expressive and profoundly melancholic character, is an urban folk music, originating in the port city of Lisbon, where many cultures met and merged over centuries, and combines elements of Portuguese country folk music with Moorish and African influences, among others.
The singer of fado (literally, “fate”) speaks to the often harsh realities of everyday life, sometimes with a sense of resignation, sometimes with the hope of resolution. The music is performed by either a female or a male vocalist, typically to the accompaniment of one or two guitarras (10- or 12-string guitars), one or two violas (6-string guitars), and perhaps also a viola baixo (a small 8-string bassviola).
The Lisbon style emerged in the 19 th century in the city’s Alfama district, a socially and economically marginalized area that was a nexus of Iberian, South American (particularly Brazilian), and African peoples and traditions. A diverse array of dance traditions circulated within this milieu, including the Afro-Brazilian lundum;; the fofa, which was common both in Portugal and in Brazil; and the Spanish fandango. Also popular at the time was the modinha, a type of Portuguese and Brazilian art song that often was accompanied by the guitar.
The popularization of fado in the 1830s is widely attributed to Maria Severa, a tavern singer in the Alfama district and the first famous fadista (singer of fado). To the accompaniment of guitars, Severa sang of real-life woes in the harmonically predictable, notably improvisational, and strikingly mournful manner that came to characterize the Lisbon style. The dark shawl that she wore during her performances, moreover, became a standard accessory for subsequent generations of female “fadistas”.
In the late 1930s Alfama native, Amália Rodrigues, appeared on the scene. Renowned for her passionate performances, Rodrigues pushed the Lisbon style in new directions, incorporating Spanish and Mexican rhythms and tapping contemporary poets for her lyrics. (When she died in 1999, the country honoured her with three days of official mourning.)
The late 20th century brought an ebb in fado’s popularity, but by the early 21st century there was renewed interest in the music. Many artists, including Carlos do Carmo, Christina Branco, and Mariza, had begun to expand the traditional guitar accompaniment to include piano, violin, accordion, and other instruments.
So there you have it. Not only do we provide music and entertainment, but you get to learn something too! 😛
And now, here are some photos of the evening….
And finally, some more kind words from our guests of the evening:
‘Wonderful place Anouk’
- Alexiasul Americana
‘Loved the work. Always wonderful to see Lisbon again Anouk’
- Valdez Lauria
‘Thank you for another lovely venue, Anouk. I want to see Portugal now. :)’
- Niamh Gedenspire
‘Lovely as usual, Anouk – really evokes the feel of a seaside town.’
- Rhiannon Colclough