What is Fado? Where to listen to it in Porto?

What is Fado? Where t ...

For years, fado has rocked Portuguese souls with its melodious and melancholy song, a name coming from Latin which means destiny. With power and gentleness, love, gentleness, loss and injustice are magnified by the Portuguese who open their hearts through nostalgic songs. Follow us to discover Portuguese fado and the best places to listen to it.

Article opening photo: AdobeStock malajscy

What is Portuguese fado?

This is a question that often has many answers. Portuguese fado is explained in many ways depending on the stories told but what is certain is that it was born in the heart of the neighborhoods of Lisbon in the middle of the 19th century, evoking the "saudade" of Portuguese souls. This term refers to the nostalgia and pain that sailors could feel during their exile or during separations. Many fado singers have become famous but the best known remains Amália Rodrigues, a passionate 20th century artist who took fado to a global level. The story even tells that one day of a performance when she had nothing to wear, she dressed in a shawl to enter the stage, a gesture which was taken up by the fado singers. Man or woman, the fado singer is always accompanied by two guitarras (12-string Portuguese guitar) and two traditional guitars called “violas”.

Fago guitarist and singer Photo: AdobeStock_malajscy fado

Where to go see fado in Porto?

Fado cannot be explained but must be experienced, felt and appreciated. What better place to listen to fado than Porto, an emblematic city of Portugal? We crisscrossed the city in search of the essential places to listen to fado. Come, we’ll take you, mainly to the historic center:

Ideal Clube de Fado

Authentic and intimate, you will be directly immersed in traditions with pure fado, a show repeated twice during the day at 6p.m. and 7:30p.m. Come and meet the artists for half an hour before the concert, famous singers and guitarists like Mário Henriques.

Calém Cellars

Experience a unique moment in a privileged setting in Vila Nova de Gaia. Comfortably seated in front of a glass of port, let yourself be carried away by the sound of the guitars and the melodious singing of the fado singers who offer you an exceptional show in an unusual place.

Casa da Guitarra

Immerse yourself in the world of Portuguese guitars at Casa de Guitarra, located in the center of Porto. Time stands still for an hour where the fadista amazes the spectators with her melodious voice accompanied by guitars.

Listening to fado in a restaurant in Porto

The charm is complete when you spend a relaxing moment in the restaurant, lulled by the nostalgic singing of fado. In Porto, many addresses immerse you in Portuguese culture between typical specialties and songs:

Taberna Real Do Fado

In the heart of the historic center of Porto, you will have several options to enjoy fado. Petiscos (Portuguese tapas), snack or full meal, sit down in a comfortable and refined space to listen to the lovely sound of fado.

Cafe Guarany

Very chic, it is the most famous café in Porto where you can listen to fado. From Thursday to Saturday, vibrate with emotion during a memorable dinner, lulled by traditional Portuguese singing. Take the opportunity to try the famous rabanadas, French toast with egg cream.

Casa das Mariquinhas

You are at home in an intimate lounge to enjoy a very well prepared Portuguese menu surrounded by the sound of fado. Escape to one of the oldest fado houses in Porto.

Fado in Porto Photo: AdobeStock insideportugal

Budget-friendly options for experiencing fado in Porto

It is no longer really traditional to sing fado for free in the streets of Porto. Fortunately, there are many options for listening to this typical Portuguese song without spending a fortune. The choice is made according to your budget and your desire for shows, for an hour or the whole evening. The simplest and least expensive is to go to a fado house like Ideal Club de Fado, or to music stores that organize concerts, at Casa da Guitarras for example. Listen carefully, it's not impossible to hear fado humming near the bars in the evening.

Let yourself be transported by the emotions while listening to fado in Porto. You now have all the right addresses for a good time to experience intensely.

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