Fado Bar © endless autumn
As wonderful as Lisbon's historical area of Alfama is by day, its culture can be even better experienced at night in one of the legendary fado bars of the area. Fado, meaning 'fate' or 'destiny', is a traditional genre of music dating back to the early 19th century, characterised by mournful songs about ill-starred sailors.
Essential to the music is sausade, the emotion of nostalgia, and the sensation of loss and its permanent, life-changing consequences. Fado music is traditionally performed by two or more musicians, usually men, using Portuguese guitars and violas to augment the hauntingly sad vocals.
An immensely popular pastime amongst Portuguese locals, the atmosphere inside any one of the Alfama area's fado bars can be truly magical and tourists to Lisbon are strongly encouraged to join in and become part of the unique, and strangely therapeutic, atmosphere.