The search didn’t take too long as Lisbon is all about the Fado.

Fado is a music genre that can be traced to the 1820s in Lisbon. It is commonly regarded as a form of song which can be about anything, but must follow a certain traditional structure. In popular belief, fado is a form of music characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor, and infused with a sentiment of resignation, fatefulness and melancholia. This is loosely captured by the word “longing”, symbolising a feeling of loss – a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent lifelong damage – talk about depressing!

We found Mascote da Alalaia just up the road which is a tiny little establishment where you can have dinner and drinks whilst enjoying the Fado music.  They have the same two guitar players – one playing the Portuguese guitar with 8 strings and then a professional singer from a rotation comes in each night.


This is the size of the  restaurant (for scale – this photo is showing half the room)


This chap played the hell out of the Portuguese guitar – it was like his fingers were made of rubber they were moving so fast.


And this was our singer for the evening… he had a great voice, even if we couldn’t understand a word he was saying.   He was soulful and full of emotion and probably told the story really well. Who knows?


However, he only sang 3 songs at a time, and then they all got up, got themselves a beer from the bar and went outside for a smoke….. for 30-40 minutes, then they’d come back in a play 3 more songs, then back out again.  Maybe Fado singing really takes it out of you?  These chaps got bored waiting and played their own music – can’t blame them, Me Jenny and I scrolled through dog pictures on Instagram while we waited.


The Verdict – I’m not sure that Fado music would be my ‘go to’ genre, but it was lovely in 3 songs lots.

Categories: Lisbon, Portugal, Travel

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