There are many places to hear fado in Porto. The music may well be the same, but the quality and the experience may be very different!
That’s why, and especially if it’s not in your plans to go to more than one place, I recommend you take a few minutes to find the best fado experience.
The best places to listen to fado in Porto
Most places with professional artists offer a reasonably good experience. But when it comes to the best places to listen to fado in Porto, there are five that stand out:
Those who wish to listen to authentic fado in an intimate concert
Every day at the end of the afternoon and in the evening (check the schedule here)
1 hour (+15 minutes if you attend the talk before the concert)
20€ (students 15€), with a free glass of port wine
Find out more
Ideal Clube de Fado is one of the best places to hear fado in Portugal and, if you ask me, the best place in Porto.
This is a project to promote and preserve the most authentic tradition of classic fado.
It’s not a food or drinks business with live fado, but a place dedicated to this art, where during the concerts the most important thing is the music, the silence and the emotion of fado.
Ideal Clube de Fado was designed to provide an intimate experience, where the audience feels the artists and the artists feel the audience.
It is the only place in Portugal where you will hear exclusively what is called “fado tradicional”, fado in its purest state. Find out more about styles at fado shows.
This breaks with the established practice of including in fado shows other types of repertoire – marches, folklore, covers such as Casa Portuguesa and Barco Negro – and variations of the original style such as the “fado-canção”, which are songs that are easier for the masses to enjoy.
Besides, and not less important, some of the most experienced and respected names of fado in Porto are part of this group.
You will hear two fado singers (a male voice and a female voice), and not one, as usually happens in fado concerts.
The guitar players also perform instrumental pieces so that you can appreciate the unique sound of the Portuguese guitar.
If you want to know more about fado, 15 minutes before the beginning of the concert there is always a talk with one of the musicians. It is a great way to learn more about this style.
To guarantee a seat at Ideal Clube de Fado, I advise you to get tickets in advance.
Every day at 18:00
19€ (discounts for the younger), with a free glass of port wine
Find out more
Fado na Baixa offers a concert in a small auditorium where live music coexists with a documentary (translated into Spanish, French, or English with audio guides).
It’s a musical and didactic experience and is the only regular event in Porto where the Coimbra’s song is also sung.
The concert takes place in a building close to Porto’s Ribeira where the granite walls accommodate a small and cosy auditorium.
The show explores the different manifestations that fado has had throughout its history, and it’s split into five parts: Traditional Fado, Portuguese Guitar, Coimbra’s Song, Amália Rodrigues, and Nowadays.
Each of them begins with an excerpt from a documentary in which we hear testimonies from fado personalities that will help you better understand what the artists will present. Then, in each part, two themes are interpreted.
Here you will also have the opportunity to hear Coimbra’s song, also known as “fado de Coimbra”. This style is associated with the university students of this city and is very distinct from the fado that was considered as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Those who want to bring children to the concert and have a limited budget (free for children under 12)
Every day at 19:00
17€ (free until the age of 12), with the offer of a glass of Port wine.
Find out more
“A Casa do Fado” proposes a concert in an old Ribeira cellar with a short explanation in between.
The venue, an old granite basement with a low ceiling where the tables and chairs are adapted barrels, is an original place to listen to fado in Porto in the late afternoon.
Before the concert starts, you receive a glass of port wine. You will hear ten to twelve fados and two instrumentals during the performance. In the middle, there is a pause for one of the musicians to explain the fado history.
If the acoustics of this basement is good, the humid and stuffy air (if it is crowded) and the hard-to-reach stairs are something to consider before going.
However, if you’re with kids and budget is an important issue, take advantage of the free tickets for children under 12.
Every day from 20:00 to 01:00
3 hours (several moments during the dinner)
Average price per person: 35€
Find out more
If the idea of listening to fado in an intimate concert doesn’t appeal to you, you always have the option of dining at a fado house. These are typical restaurants where during the night you can listen to short moments of fado (15 to 20 minutes) during dinner.
Fado Português, despite being in the nearby town of Vila Nova de Gaia, is within a quick drive from the center of Porto.
In this simple and unpretentious space, you won’t see the luxuries of other fado houses. Still, you will undoubtedly enjoy an intimate and familiar environment away from the touristic circuit of Porto’s Historical Centre.
Sandra Correia, the space owner, is one of the city’s most prestigious fado singers. So you’ll be relying on good artistic direction from someone who wants their customers to have an excellent musical experience.
Although it is not as popular as O Fado, I recommend making a reservation before you go.
Monday to Saturday from 20:00 to 24:00
3 hours ( several moments during the dinner)
Average price per person: 60 € (minimum consumption of 40 €)
Find out more
O Fado, owned by the Lopes de Almeida family, with several decades of experience in the area, is the best place in Porto to listen to fado and dine.
The reason for this highlight, and without diminishing the artists’ quality, is the high quality of the cooking of traditional Portuguese dishes.
It’s a family business with Manuela Almeida, the family’s matriarch, in the kitchen and the sons in the management and customer service. As a result, the consistent quality of service and customer care is very high.
Being the city’s most popular fado and dinner venue, I recommend booking as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, same-day bookings are not usually possible.
If you want to find more fado places in Porto, click here to explore all the fado venues organized by experience type.
More than talking about what fado is and its history, I want to give you two kinds of information: knowledge so you can better appreciate a fado concert (anywhere) and a list of all the places with fado in Porto, organised by categories.
- Why listen to live fado
- What makes a good fado experience
- Understanding a fado show
- Etiquette at a fado performance
- All kinds of fado experiences in Porto (and all places)
- Misunderstandings about fado in Porto
Why listen to live fado
“And people say: this is the real fado! (…) But it’s the real fado, because that, there… I’m close to the public. And the public is complicit.”Fernando Maurício, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
I know many people who say they don’t appreciate fado. But I don’t know anyone who has heard live fado in a good setting and with good artists who would say the same!
Why does this happen?
Because listening is only one part of the fado experience. True fado implies sharing and complicity between artists and the audience.
When this happens, it is said that “there was fado”.
Some fado houses include messages such as ” house x – where fado happens” in their pamphlets and posters. With these words, they intend to transmit that, aside from listening and watching fado singers and guitarists, we will experience the harmony between them and the public. As Fernando Maurício said, we will become complicit and, in this way, live the true fado.
Furthermore, when you are in front of good fado singers and guitarists you are surrounded by a sound that goes straight to your heart and awakens strong emotions that transport you to a journey to a deep and mystical Portugal.
That’s why hearing fado live is much better than hearing it on a recording! But this alone is not enough to have a good and authentic fado experience.
What makes a good fado experience
From my experience as a musician, listener, and organiser of fado events, I consider that the characteristics that most contribute to a good show are the following:
In this 1976 video, João Braga asked Alfredo Marceneiro how he saw the future of fado in Portugal, to which he replied, “The future of fado is what I hear singing, it’s songs and cançonetas…” And then you can still hear someone saying “some shit!”
And I can say that Alfredo Marceneiro made a good prediction because today, except for Ideal Clube de Fado whose project is to dedicate itself exclusively to traditional fado, in most of the shows, not only in Porto but all over the country, you will hear a mixture of fados, songs and “cançonetas”, popular marches and folklore. They’re not ” some shit”, but they’re not fado either!
How many, many times I am here and, for example, I have to sing because there is someone there who wants to listen. But, suddenly, I hear the Casa Portuguesa, because it has to be, because there are a lot of foreigners singing the Casa Portuguesa, I hear very light things and they say: Eh, fado singer! I don’t sing anymore, because a person who is saying when you sing Casa Portuguesa or when you sing Cheira a Lisboa or when you sing Caracolitos and those things, they’re just things to liven things up and when I hear Eh, fadista!, I don’t sing because I see that the person doesn’t knows nothing about fado.
Aren’t those songs fado?
They are not fado. And if they say: Eh, fadista!, they don’t understand. For what will I sing afterward? Then they run with me, if that is what is beautiful, if that is what is good (I keep saying that it is good and beautiful), but it is not fado.Argentina Santos, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
I know this may sound strange, but there are several reasons for this phenomenon, mainly related to commercial and tourist motivations.
But as this has been happening for some decades, and even Amália Rodrigues herself, who was the most popular personality of fado in Portugal, promoted this kind of approach in her concerts, there was a normalization effect with some misinformation in between.
In other words, we are so used to hearing the fado singers singing this mixture that we don’t even question what is fado and what is not, because it is assumed that everything the fado singer sings is fado.
Besides, the music broadcasting media are also oblivious that fado singers sing other styles. For this reason, they label everything they sing as being fado.
This even led to an embarrassing situation when in 2020 Ricardo Ribeiro, one of the greatest contemporary fado singers, saw his album nominated by the Prémios Play for best fado album and asked to have it removed from the list because he considered it wasn’t fado. Check the news here.
If you are interested in knowing more about this, go to the part where I explain the repertoire of fado singers.
For fado to happen, there must be a strong connection between the public and the artists. For this to happen, the artists must have a set of qualities without which fado cannot be transmitted.
No matter how much you sayManuel Almeida
Fado is a neighborhood song
It’s not a fadista who wants to be one
But who was born a fado singer
To be a good fado artist, it is not enough to have a good voice or play well. The singers and guitarists have to master the specific language and aesthetics of this style, which are very different from pop, jazz, or lyrical.
But as in any musical style, the technical side is also important. The better it is, the more resources the artist has to express and communicate with the public. If they sing or play poorly, there is little point in giving 100% to the music.
I remember once I was playing at Janelas do Fado in Matosinhos when a client asked me to sing. He even seemed to be genuinely giving himself deeply into the music and wanting to communicate, but the result was a room full of people holding back laughter… And this doesn’t make the fado happen!
But it is also important to realize that a good fado singer doesn’t need to fit the stereotype of what most people consider a good singer.
Some of the most respected singers in the fado community, such as Beatriz da Conceição, Alfredo Marceneiro and Rodrigo, among others, have a style and a way of singing that are extremely appreciated in their milieu, but which are not usually given due value by the general public.
On the other hand, there are fado singers like Mariza or Cuca Roseta who have tremendous success with the masses but are not especially appreciated among big fado lovers.
Listen, for instance, to this interpretation by Beatriz da Conceição (born in Porto) of Fado Alfacinha:
And listen to this interpretation of the same fado, but sung by Mariza:
I believe that most people prefer Mariza’s way of singing, but most fado lovers take other things into account – originality, complexity, depth, rhythm, the intensity of the performance – when listening to a fado singer. That is why they prefer Beatriz da Conceição.
To conclude this reflection on what it is to be a good fado singer, I will quote Joel Pina, one of the most influential personalities in the history of fado:
I know I have fado inside me, I know that. Because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have fado. They may even have a lot of musical intuition, but they don’t have fado. The fado… there is a mystery here that… There are various voices about the fado. And some voices are more profound, come from inside, that communicate with the person that really transmits that message that the person wants to pass on, and passes on, and the other person feels goosebumps. I think that’s what fado is.Joel Pina (transcrito de “Joel Pina: O Professor“)
Silence is essential not only for those who are performing but also for those who are listening.
For the artists, the silence of the audience is a demonstration of respect and interest, leading them to give their best. On the other hand, the opposite is bothersome and leads to the performance being faked.
“…If they’re making noise, our job is to pour it out. Yes, it’s singing, but not for real…”Fernando Maurício, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
For the audience, silence is essential because, besides enjoying a better artistic work, they will feel the emotion of the artists. This is the only way to experience true fado.
That’s why there’s the famous expression, ” silence that fado will be sung”.
In an interview Vicente da Câmara was asked if there was a proper atmosphere for singing fado, to which he replied:
There is. It’s the people who are there. There are some people who think you have to have low lights and you have to have things hanging, little balloons, posters on the walls and so on. That, to me, never affected me (…) I am concerned, yes, about the people who are. Those are the ones that make the good or bad environment.Vicente da Câmara, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
On this matter, Raul Nery also said the following:
The audience listening to fado must be in total harmony with the fado singers or players. Only when this harmony is achieved, we can say that the conditions are created for a true fado atmosphere.Raul Nery, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
Among musicians, when it is said that “the audience was good,” it means that the harmony Raul Nery talks about happened. When this happens, the artists genuinely connect with the audience, and the result is an outstanding performance which in turn grabs the audience’s attention even more.
Argentina Santos, on the importance of a good audience, said the following:
… that (the will to sing) has to be a drive that gives me, and I have to look at the people, and I have to see: they like fado. If they don’t like it, it’s not worth it.Argentina Santos, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
So when you go to a Fado concert, be willing to relax and devote yourself entirely to the experience. Look at the singers and the guitarists and not the mobile phone. Listen, feel and concentrate on the music.
This way, you will create the ideal environment for the artists to give their best and open the door to fado and to their hearts. At the end of each song, don’t be shy of giving feedback through warm clapping to let the artists know you’re enjoying it!
If you want to know how to behave at a fado show, jump to the section where I talk about etiquette.
As the essence of this music is in the sharing between the artists and the public, the intimate and welcoming spaces, by favoring proximity and complicity, are more propitious to experience the real fado.
The quality of the listening experience is also better if we are close to the voice and instruments.
On this issue, Raul Nery, said the following:
Fado, to be well sung, needs its own atmosphere. In fact, some people who say they don’t like fado have never heard it in a proper environment because it is not in a concert hall that fado can be better appreciated.
Raul Nery, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
Good acoustics (and no microphones)
You can even be in front of great artists, in absolute silence and in an intimate space, but if you don’t feel the vibration of the voice and the guitars in your body at the same time you listen, it won’t be the real thing.
The sound must have intensity, focus, and detail. And this without microphones, because then you will feel more connected to the fado singers and guitarists and also because the natural vibrations contain more richness and authenticity.
Understanding a fado show
For you to better appreciate a fado show, it’s important to understand some of the elements that make it up:
First, it is crucial to understand that fado is not, in itself, sad music. In its most authentic form – “Fado Tradicional” (traditional fado) – there are many fados to express joyful emotions. The fado singers have total freedom to choose the poems they want to sing and the themes (but most fado singers like to sing the sadness of love).
But nowadays, in most fado concerts, except in Ideal Clube de Fado, which is exclusively dedicated to traditional fado, 5 different styles are presented:
- Fado Tradicional
- Other songs
Fado Tradicional is fado in its purest state, the most authentic tradition of classic fado. It is a song without a chorus, and the same melody can be sung with different poems. It is the style where there is more freedom for improvisation and interpretation.
Examples: Fado Corrido, Fado Menor, Fado Alberto, Fado Bailado.
The fado-canção is a style with a chorus, and the melody is created for a specific poem. As the name says (“canção” means song), there is an aesthetic mix between fado and other songs. The most popular fado melodies are in this style.
Examples: Ai Mouraria, Nem às Paredes Confesso, Vielas d’Alfama, Lágrima.
The March is not fado. It is a popular style associated with summer celebrations of popular saints. The song is divided into two parts: the development of the song in minor mode and a chorus in major mode.
Examples: Lisboa Antiga, Marcha d’Alfama, De Rosa ao Peito (popularized by Mariza under the name Rosa ao Branca).
Folklore is not fado either and includes several traditional styles from Portugal. They may be adaptations, or they may be folklore-inspired creations. These are festive songs in a major key.
Examples: Fadinho Serrano, Bailarico Saloio, Fadinho da Ti Maria Benta, Sr. Vinho.
When at a concert you are encouraged to clap your hands to the rhythm of the music, you will probably be listening to marcha or folklore.
There are also other songs that have gained a lot of popularity, but that, in my opinion, cannot be included in the fado-canção category because they are either too far away from the fado language or their origin was in musical contexts outside fado.
Examples: Uma Casa Portuguesa*, Abril em Portugal (“Coimbra”), Chuva, Dia de Folga, Meu Amor de Longe, Barco Negro.
Read my article on styles in fado if you are interested in going deeper into this subject.
*It is not a mistake. This song, despite being sung in almost every show (effect of uncritical normalisation) is a satire on a poor and oppressed Portugal, was written in Africa, in a cosmopolitan hotel in Mozambique, and was born from a picaresque episode. Click here to read more about it.
Instruments and musical dynamics
Usually, you’ll see three people on stage: the fadista (voice), the guitarist (Portuguese guitar), and another guitar player (classical guitar). Sometimes a bass player is also included.
In this ensemble, there is an instrument with a distinctive sound called “guitarra portuguesa” (Portuguese guitar). It has 12 double strings (6 orders) of steel and is descended from the European zither and the English guitar.
The fadista’s job is to sing the poems so that the melody and the musical dynamics he imprints reflect the message he is transmitting.
The guitarist plays the initial melodies, supporting the classical guitar, creating a musical dialog with the voice, and creating musical textures and colors.
The classical guitar player sets the rhythm, makes the basses, and defines the harmonic path in a specific fado swing. It is the foundation of all music.
When there is a bass player, he shares the responsibility of the bass notes with the classical guitar player
Fado lives mainly from improvisation and interpretation. There is no official score that one has to follow. A good interpretation respects the identity of a fado, but at the same time, includes original interpretative elements.
The musical structure of a fado usually has two parts (A and B). It usually starts with a short instrumental introduction related to part B.
Since the guitarist plays the melody, it is up to him to define what he wants to do. The introduction can either be a way to help the fadista get into the music or an inspiring musical moment for everyone.
Since it is not usual to have group rehearsals, the dynamics created among the musicians are spontaneously carried out on the spot. And in fado, there is a constant musical game between everyone.
The most remarkable is the melodic dialog between the voice and the Portuguese guitar. But the classical guitar also enters this interaction more discretely with the basses and harmonic textures.
Then a series of musical dynamics occur at the level of intensity (crescendo, diminuendo, forte, piano, etc.) that everyone can provoke. However, it is usually the fadista who has the most influence.
There is also the suspension, which consists of a moment, usually preceded by a rallentando, in which the accompaniment stops, and the fadista creates an expressive moment in which he sings freely.
Sometimes, there is a Portuguese guitar solo in the middle of the fado. Then, the guitarist can recreate the voice melody or improvise a different one.
There is also the custom of playing guitars pieces at some fado shows. However, they are compositions for Portuguese guitar, without voice, and they don’t need to be framed in fado style.
Etiquette at a fado performance
Since one of the qualities of a good fado experience is a good audience, I will help you understand how your behaviour at a fado concert can contribute to a good show.
Despite being a popular song, fado should be listened to in silence. It is not music to make ambiance or to cheer up a meeting among friends.
It should be kept in mind that the performers are making music in real time (they are not reproducing something they have rehearsed countless times) and are entirely focused on communicating with the audience.
If people are talking, besides being a strong deconcentration factor, the artists will think that the audience doesn’t want to listen, which will decrease the quality of the performance.
On the other hand, being an auditive experience, it loses quality if there are different sounds besides the music. And if you’re talking at the same time as you listen, you won’t be in a state of sharing and complicity with the artists, which is the main thing in fado, and you’ll also disturb those who want to listen in silence.
Cell phone use
To have silence, it is necessary to turn off the cell phone or remove its sound and vibration. Using your mobile phone for taking photographs or filming is generally well accepted, as long as the lights and flash are inactive. But be careful not to disturb the people behind you with your mobile phone screen.
Clapping after each song is allowed and appreciated by the performers. It’s one of the best ways to show that you’re enjoying the music; giving that feedback is essential for artists.
However, it is not recommended to clap your hands to accompany the fados because clapping gets in the way of the person doing the rhythm and makes it difficult for the musicians to hear each other. This applies to fado, but in marchas or folklore it is normal that they ask for your collaboration.
Singing with the fado singer
Unless you are requested to, which can happen with marchas, folklore and some of the more popular fado-canção songs, you should not sing with the fadista, as it interferes with his interpretation.
All kinds of fado experiences in Porto (and all places)
Currently, we can consider that there are four types of fado experience in Porto:
If you want to listen to fado in Porto, without food in the mix to enjoy the show without interference and meet some of the best singers and guitarists in town, this is the kind of experience for you.
These concerts start between 18:00 and 21:00 and have an average duration of 1 hour. Unlike a fado dinner where the show is divided into several small parts throughout the night, in these places you watch a show without interruptions or with a small break in the middle.
The price is fixed because access is via the purchase of a ticket. It ranges from 16€ to 20€ and includes a glass of port. You can buy at the venue, but I advise you to buy your tickets online to guarantee your place, as this kind of experience is quite popular.
Each place is unique in terms of space, atmosphere, and concept. So it’s worth understanding what each of them has to offer.
There are four places with this kind of experience:
(click on each one to find out more)
Several restaurants in Porto regularly have live fado during dinner. However, it is important to distinguish between specialized fado restaurants, known as “casas de fado” (fado houses), and conventional restaurants that, with some regularity, offer fado dinners.
Fado house is not, contrary to popular belief, the name given to any place with live fado. It is indeed a typical restaurant specialized in fado dinners.
It is different from a regular restaurant because all the space and decoration are dedicated to this theme. They always have fado singers and guitarists during their opening hours.
This experience is recommended for those who want to dine and listen to fado throughout the evening and spend a longer moment with family and friends in a relaxed atmosphere with fado and food.
The show is split into small sets and usually alternates with dinner moments (starter, main course, dessert, coffee, and digestive). Each part lasts approximately 20 minutes.
It is usual in fado houses to present two singers each night: a female voice and a male voice.
There are six fado houses in Porto:
(click on each to find out more)
There may be some advantages to choosing this type of establishment. The price is usually more affordable, the menu can be more varied and more varied, and the atmosphere more relaxed.
But usually, the quality of the fado experience is not as good as in a fado house since the business focuses is the meal, not the fado.
The most popular are:
- Restaurante RC;
- Taberna do Cais das Pedras;
- Restaurante Luso-Brasileiro.
In Porto, places offer a fado show together with other experiences.
Visits to port wine cellars are one of the region’s main attractions. Currently, there are two places that offer this experience together with a fado show:
Caves Calém offers a package tour aimed at the masses where the quality of the experience is not the best. Most of the repertoire performed is “fado for tourists”, and the space is not favorable for the sharing between the artists and the public.
The Caves Rozès offer private tours with several tasting options. This is a premium, personalized experience with a good intimate fado show at the end. Therefore it is the only one I can recommend.
Since 2012, Herança Magna has offered a show featuring the two most important musical manifestations of traditional Portuguese music – fado and folklore. Before the show, there is a dinner with traditional food to enjoy a musical and gastronomic experience.
If you want an intimate fado experience, this one might not be right for you.
Fado vadio, more than a concert, is a meeting between people who share a passion for fado. It works like karaoke but with guitarists instead of recorded music.
This experience is especially suitable for those who want to sing, even amateurs. But you can also participate as a listener.
Places where you can hear fado vadio:
- Grupo Dramático Monte Aventino;
- Taberna Alecrim;
- Restaurante Guitarra;
- Restaurante O Bronco;
- Petiscaria Boca Aberta;
- Casa Balsas;
- A Viela.
Misunderstandings about fado in Porto
Fado in Porto has been subject to some unfair considerations. It is, therefore, essential to demystify some mistaken ideas that have been built up about the reality of fado in this city.
In Porto there is almost no live fado
In Porto, there are dozens of events with live fado every week. To get a better idea, here are all the types of experience and their places.
Fado in Porto is touristy, and in Lisbon it’s authentic
If you think that being touristy is having lots of tourists at events or depending on them, then Lisbon and Porto are in the same position.
Look at this old postcard from A Parreirinha de Alfama, one of Lisbon’s most important Fado houses, where Portuguese, English, and French coexist.
“Parreirinha is a smaller, more typical, more Portuguese house, with more Portuguese people. It doesn’t have as much tourism as Pacheco. He has a big house. It would be a problem for him if he only worked with Portuguese people. Even Dona Argentina has many foreigners. There are groups every day. If it wasn’t like this, nobody would survive. Unfortunately, the Portuguese don’t go to fado. They can go to fado at the weekend and the houses can’t… We work every day.Alcindo Carvalho, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
In 1989, when the fado houses in Porto were in crisis, with many of them closing (there were few tourists in Porto) Alcindo Carvalho talks about the great affluence of foreigners in Lisbon’s fado houses and highlights the importance they have for the survival of these houses.
Nowadays, both in Porto and Lisbon, local fado businesses are mainly frequented by tourists. But in Lisbon, where there has always been more tourism than in Porto, Fado has been one of the main tourist attractions for longer. And, in recent decades the influx of tourists has not only contributed to the maintenance of Lisbon’s fado houses, but has also been the main factor in the birth of many more.
From my point of view, rather than looking at the number of tourists, because most of the clients of the professional fado places in Porto and Lisbon are foreigners, there are other more important aspects:
– Do the artists sing authentic fado or do they adapt the repertoire to the less experienced ears of foreigners and interpret softer things that are not fado?
– Is the quality of the performers good? Are they giving their best during their performance?
– Are customers treated in a warm manner or with indifference?
When determining a good place, considering these issues is much more important than counting the number of foreigners vs locals.
Amateur fado places offer a more authentic experience
Some tour guides think that places of fado vadio, because they have fewer foreigners, are more genuine. But, as I explained, this argument is poorly founded, and there are other more important things to consider.
Besides, in these places, the conditions are not better, and it won’t be by listening to amateur artists that you will have a better notion of what real fado is.
First, thank you for taking the time to read this larger than normal article! I hope it has helped you to better understand the complexity of fado in this city.
Whether you’re passing through or living here, don’t miss out on this country’s most important musical expression through a live fado show.