Do you know fado houses? Let’s discover about traditional Portuguese music

What are Fado Houses? SEA and YOU explains it to you

Small places filled with emotion, where music moves the soul. That’s what Fado Houses are!

To understand what Fado Houses are, one must immerse themselves in this incredibly emotional and passionate music. It might not be easy the first time. Fado can cause: addiction, tears, uncontrollable emotions, and a desire to leave your own land to live in Portugal!

There are magical places in Portugal, places that preserve this ancient art of guitar and free singing. The Fado Houses!

What Are Fado Houses, actually?

But what are Fado Houses, and what role do they play in preserving and performing this unique art form? The question may seem straightforward, but it isn’t. Currently, according to Portuguese law, a Fado House is a typical Portuguese restaurant with a structure specifically designed for artist performances, with specific decor and typical dishes. They are restaurants, according to the CAE (Economic Activity Code) 56104, where all components are intended to offer the visitor a truly unique and engaging experience, and only those with these characteristics can be called Fado Houses.

Not all places where Fado is performed are Fado Houses. Understanding what Fado Houses are also means understanding that there can be places where making music becomes the primary goal. Ideal Clube de Fado, one of the three protagonists of SEA and YOU, the festival that brings together Fado, Flamenco, and classical Neapolitan song, knows this well. Within Ideal Clube de Fado, the choice was to set aside food and prioritize only what is Fado Tradicional.

To Understand What Fado Houses Are…Let’s Talk About Fado

Fado is much more than just music; it is a melody that touches the soul of Portugal. With poignant lyrics and heart-wrenching melodies, accompanied by classical guitars and Portuguese guitars (similar to 12-string mandolins), Fado explores themes such as love, nostalgia, and “saudade,” which the Portuguese identify as a deep melancholy. It’s music capable of transcending language barriers, singing and playing the universal language of emotions.

Like all folk songs, Fado also has ancient origins that are challenging to pinpoint. What is certain is that the origins of official Fado can be traced back to the impoverished neighborhood of Mouraria, where Fado began to emerge in the early 1800s among the most notorious streets, primarily thanks to the first true Fado singer in history: Maria Severa Onofriana, a prostitute who enchanted clients with her voice.

Where to Experience Authentic Fado? Fado Houses and Concert Halls

As Fado Houses are an official denomination for restaurants that feature Fado performances, not all places where Fado is performed are Fado Houses. The experience is undoubtedly engaging, and it’s worth visiting Portugal to witness this ancient tradition of art, history, and music. Famous places to listen to Fado include Adega Machado in Lisbon, where Lisbon-style Fado leads the audience to more melancholic tones, or Café Luso in Coimbra, where Fado is built on much more sophisticated and cultured tones. If these two types represent two souls of Portugal, Porto’s Fado is its livelier part, and you can listen to it at the renowned O Fado.

A Special Concert Hall in Porto: Ideal Clube de Fado

But there are also places that do not carry the label of Fado Houses because they are not restaurants. One of these is Ideal Clube de Fado, a concert hall where Fado Tradicional is in the air, the most authentic style of Fado, the one that is freer, the one that does not follow scores and resonates music directly from the emotions that the musician feels at that moment. Inside the Porto Hall, Fado Tradicional takes precedence without being tied to food. Only pure music, pure emotion, pure live creation of something unique.

UNESCO has recognized Fado as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity, emphasizing its importance in Portuguese culture and the global music scene. This art form has withstood the test of time, maintaining its timeless charm. That’s why SEA AND YOU is coming, the festival that will celebrate Fado, Flamenco, and classical Neapolitan song, thanks to the union of three truly special concert halls: Ideal Clube de Fado, Napulitanata, and CajaGranada Fundación! To better understand this true art of music, come and find us on Facebook, and keep an eye on the festival dates, which are coming very soon!

By Davide Lancia