Coimbra, Portugal & the Fado Tradition

“A Capella” FADO venue

Listen to Coimbra Fado as you read.

In general, Fado is a genre of music that originated in Portugal during the 1820’s.  Orginally, it was sung by sailors addressing themes of lost love.  Later it was developed in Lisbon to be sung by women and accompanied by classical and Portuguese guitar. 

Fado in Coimbra is different than that of Lisbon.  In Coimbra, Fado centers around the university community and is sung by men dresses in traditonal accedemic capes, robes and leggings.  Like in Lisbon, it is accompanied by classical guitar and a specially tuned Portuguese guitar, but sounds totally different.

My group and I arrive early at A Capella, a small 14th century chapel turned tapas bar and Fado venue.  The owner and chief Fado singer, was practicing a rock and roll set scheduled for performance at 12 midnight.  Luckily, we were able to preorder a set dinner menu of lamb or fish.

The actual Fado begain at 9:20 p.m. and continued in four song sets until midnight.  We all enjoyed the performances of the male soloist and guitar ensemble. 

The food was good and by the end of the evening the chapel was packed with 80-100 people drinking, eating and enjoying the Fado experience.

About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
  1. Jay Reply

    Sounds like a great time! I remember the tapas bar in Madrid – didn’t have the live music but the food was excellent!

  2. David McGuffin Reply

    I’ve added a link to a recording I made at this Fado event.

  3. Lynn Porzig Reply

    That is very cool. I look forward to hearing the recording. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Pingback: EXPLORING EUROPE NEWS: August 2011

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