I was in Lisbon for a conference that I helped organize, and wanted to bring a few people out for the fado. I spoke with Ana Marina and Duarte at Sr. Fado, and they said they could accommodate our group of seven (no six, no ten, no eight, no really, seven)--which represents a significant percentage of the total seats available, maybe twenty maximum. The atmosphere here is very relaxed. The kitchen is in the back, just off the main room. Doesn't matter: the cooking staff is the talent--so there's never kitchen noise during the fado (compare with some of the joints in the Bairro Alto).
|(Most of) Our party|
We arrived for dinner. Meanwhile the musicians were warming up, discussing various fados. Ana Marina and Duarte were working the kitchen, preparing the cataplã. Our group consisted of Zeno, Mark, Michelle, Bartel, Frank, Julie and Brian.
This was a Wednesday night, which is when the "tertúlia" happens: a wide variety of friends and colleagues comes to play and sing. A few of the singers are somewhat regular, but many are not. The corps of musicians is more stable, but again--one never knows who will show up. Tonight on the guitarra portuguesa were Dr. Nuno de Sequeira, José Barnay, Carlos Albino and D. Edmundo Albergaria (yes, four guitarists); and on the viola, four others: Duarte Santos (the proprietor), and three engineers: Renato Infante, José Infante, and Ferreira-Alves. This is alot of musicians, though not all were always playing.
|Mark, Ana Marina, Duarte, Dude|
|Carlos Mendes Pereira|
(photo provided by Sr. Fado in Alcochete)
While all this was happening, I kept seeing Artur Batalha darting around outside, occasionally peeking in to the restaurant.
|Fernando M., Artur Batalha, |
C. Mendes Pereira, M. Tomás (l-r)
Somewhere around this time there was a break. I managed to get outside and talk to Batalha for a few minutes, also with Fernando Morreira--simpático as always.
The next fadista, Leonel Moura, sang the "Fado da Internet" and "Pastel de Nata", both of which are very light, even humorous, fados. Dr. Tomás then sang the "Fado dos Saltimbancos", another fado associated with Alcochete, with Carlos Mendes Pereira.
Probably there was another break. Now it was late. Almost everyone in the restaurant except Zeno, Mark, Michelle, me and a few other die-hards had gone home. I was losing hope that Artur Batalha would sing. But whaddya know? There he is, standing in the doorway, ready:
Quadras Soltas (with Dr. Tomás)
Estrela que se apaga
As I saw Batalha heading down the Rua de Regueira, Duarte said to me about him: "Ele abre a boca, e o que sai é fado". Which may be translated as, "He opens his mouth, and what comes out is fado." As in, by definition.
The night concluded at 3am with Ana Marina. Thanks to Ana Marina and Duarte for the lovely evening. And thanks also to Mark Pfaff, his friend Michelle, and to Zeno Franco for contributing the still photographs.