Fado sung by men

By Robert Carrelli
This item appears on page 30 of the January 2021 issue.

Reading the reader’s letter “Fado Experience in Lisbon” (Nov. ’20, pg. 12) reminded me of a similar experience my wife and I had in June 2018.

Instead of listening to the usual women fado performers one finds in Lisbon, we decided to visit a small university town in central Portugal called Coimbra, where fado is sung by men only, former students at the university.

It was a unique and entertaining one-hour performance, featuring two singers and two instrumentalists, followed by all of us mingling and drinking glasses of port wine. We paid 10 (near $12) each for the tickets.

We were drawn to this city and venue because of a video I had seen on YouTube, “Fado Coimbra Serenata Monumental Queima,” a haunting performance by graduating students at the university.

It was poignant to watch the women graduates crying as the men sang songs of love and loss and saying farewell to friends — all quite evocative, and I didn’t understand a word!

The venue is called Fado ao Centro (Rua do Quebra Costas nº 7; phone +351 239 837 060, www.fadoaocentro.com), in the center of Coimbra. Shows are held daily at 6 p.m. Tickets can be reserved at the website.

Thousand Oaks, CA