fado at café luso

Tuesday, July 23:  Tonight I stroll not far from my hotel in Bairro Alto to Café LUSO, a Fado House established in 1927.

In the 1930s, the old cellars and stables of the Palace Brito Freire, a 17th century manor house that endured the devastating earthquake of 1755, were refurbished into a show room with restaurant; its arched vaults offer unique acoustics.  From the first decades of the 20th century, Café LUSO reached such notoriety that it was known as the “Cathedral of Fado”.

inside Café LUSO
inside Café LUSO

The show, running between 8.30 and 10 PM, is a display of regional folk dances and singing alternating with fado singers and players. At the end of the show, all together, they all sing the Café LUSO hymn.

Café LUSO
Café LUSO
me at Café LUSO
me at Café LUSO
Café LUSO
Café LUSO

The Folklore group wears real costumes that typify the various regions of Portugal.

Folklore dancers at Café LUSO
Folklore dancers at Café LUSO
folklore dancers at Café LUSO
folklore dancers at Café LUSO
Café LUSO
Café LUSO
Café LUSO
Café LUSO

Fado arrived in Lisbon by way of Portuguese navigators and other travelers.  Despite the many influences on Fado, as a result of the Portuguese diaspora, it was clearly identified since the 19th century as a genuine national song.

The voice is accompanied by the Portuguese guitar and viola, but also other instruments such as contrabass, piano, bass and cello.

Black is prevalent on the apparel, feminine and masculine; the use of black clothes visually emphasizes the sadness and nostalgia, overwhelming feelings in traditional fado. The female singer often uses a shawl that composes the figure with meaning; this ornament can be dashing and rich.

fado singer at Café LUSO
fado singer at Café LUSO

Fado is a musical genre that can only be explained as an old lament over the threats that all of us go through life, with episodes that can be painful and explain our mortality.

It covers life, love or disdain, graces or disgraces, loss and “saudade”, the very Portuguese word synonymous with longing and missing.

Obviously, Fado does not have one single style of interpretation.

I love the evening here at Café LUSO, even though it is a tourist place, bursting with tables of Chinese people.  I am a little disappointed in the ratio of folklore dances to fado; it seems the folklore dances make up the majority of the show, with only a few soulful fado songs.

The menu is very limited and nothing special at all.  And of course it’s expensive.  Oh well, maybe next time I go to Lisbon, I can find a small, off-the-beaten track fado house, where the locals go.

appetizers
appetizers
dessert
dessert

For more information, check out: Café LUSO

6 thoughts on “fado at café luso

  1. Well at least it gave you (and us!) the flavour of Fado, thank you🙂
    I’m a bit concerned about the dessert, I hope you weren’t hungry because it looks more like an abstract painting than anything to eat!

  2. You look amazing! So slim and tanned! But I agree with the Lucid Gypsy, what the heck was that dribbled desert thing supposed to be? Did they expect you to lick the plate because there is not enough there for even a baby spoon! Sad this blog is almost over. x

    1. Thanks so much, Mona Lisa. I felt so happy after my month of travel, because you know travel is what I thrive on. That dessert left a lot to be desired. Yes, I only have one more day to post on this blog, but it will take maybe two more posts, or three. I need to find time!!!

  3. You would have had a better Fado night with us in Tavira, Cathy. We’ll organise it next time 🙂

    I really don’t like what Goodreads have done with the widget. Do you, Cathy? I wasted half an hour trying to change it to take the reviews out, but I can either get rid of Goodreads from the sidebar or I’m stuck with it. Sulk! 😦

    1. Ok, Fado with you in Tavira. Let’s make it a date, Jo! 🙂

      Oh no, Jo, I’m glad you mentioned the Goodreads widget, otherwise I’m not sure when I would have noticed it. How bizarre! I don’t like it at all! Oh no. Now I’m sulking too!

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