Last night we met a friend in the Alfama to hear some fado--destination unknown. We simply could not decide where to go: we wanted a decent dinner, plus fado, but did not want to pay 30+ euros per person for the privilege. He suggested dinner at a local restaurant, one that our friend, Tô Lisboa, knows well. We entered and to our surprise, there in the corner, was the great guitarist José Pracana. José Pracana has been in the fado for a long time (see this evidence and a short biography in Portuguese). The last time I met him was also by accident: on a plane from Boston to the Açores. Also in the restaurant was the viola player José Nunes.
|José Pracana (l) and José Nunes (r)|
Next stop was Sr. Fado, where the musicians were Eduardo Rodrigues (guitarra portuguesa) and Duarte Santos on the viola. Duarte began the evening with an explanation of the fado (in English) for the audience, most of whom were not Portuguese. He discussed first the instrumentation of the classic set-up, then the "traditional" versus "musical" fado. Unfortunately, I was not able to record this mini-lecture. If I can get Duarte to recount it for me, watch for the post here. The singers we heard were our friend, Tô Lisboa, then Oudete Miranda, Nuno de Aguiar, and Ana Marina.
Now what? Tô and Nuno de Aguiar left for the Tasca do Chico in the Alfama after they sang. By the time we walked by there, it was too full to bother trying to enter. The Grupo Sportivo Adicense, up from the Esquina d'Alfama, was having a fado night, so we stopped there (the last time I was there it was to hear Rodrigo, courtesy of the super-duper fado fan. João Braga (gp) and Chico Borges (v) were the musicians. We heard Inês Ribeiro, Rui Costa and Alice Nunes. As we were arriving, there was some arguing over the order of singing, and a couple of fadistas left in a huff. Floating in the background the entire time was Zé António.
During the break, Artur Batalha walked in. It's hard to describe what happens to a room like this when a very established fadista enters. The place got a little bit quiet. As everybody around here knows, with the closing of Os Ferreiras, Batalha no longer has a regular gig. That's a lot of talent floating around, waiting to land. The super-duper fado fan (doesn't sing, doesn't play, knows all fados and fadistas, is always there at the right place and the right time) leans over to me and says, "Batalha. My favorite." Somebody managed to corral Batalha and Zé António into a photo. I saw my chance and jumped. These two singers have a common history but diverging paths.
|Artur Batalha (l) and Zé António (r)|
New flash! The videographer 4FadoLisbon has posted two videos of Batalha from last night, along with those of a number of others. The videos are here and here. The other videos are also good (e.g., here is Quim Cigano). <
Taxi home, and that was the end of the night.