Enjoy pure Portuguese fado music and traditional food in Mouraria Lisbon, ‘cradle’of Fado: Maria da Severa’s former house, first fadista & femme fatale
A city break to Lisbon is not complete without a night with fado, the melancholy Portuguese music. Avoid most of the Fado houses in area Bairro Alto; what you’ll hear has nothing to do with pure fado. You pay too much, and also the food is too overprized! Good fado has its home in historical areas Alfama or Mouraria, like ‘Casa da Severa’ .
Fado is very traditional to Portugal. It is a song expressing sadness, longing, love, passion and life (saudade) The fado singer is often dressed in black, accompanied by a Portuguese guitarra and it is sung by men and women. You are expected to be quiet when the fado is sung in fado houses. Usually they begin around 10pm.
Casa da Severa, fado house in historical area Mouraria Lisbon
No district in Lisbon is more praised for fado music than Lisbon’s historic Mouraria area. It is said that the melancholic sounds of the music and singing of the Moorish people were at the base of fado (meaning fate) music, often described as the Portuguese blues.
Mouraria Lisbon, new fado house ’Casa da Severa’, Largo da Severa 2. November 2013
It is said that Maria da Severa was born in this house, that’s why this place was created (in 2013) to promote fado as a tribute to the legendary singer, considered by many as the first fadista. She died here, at the age of 26 years old, November 30, 1846.
Who was Maria da Severa?
Teatro da Revista (a sort of vaudeville theatre) Lisbon: Revue about Maria da Severa’s life
Maria is said to have been a tall and gracious prostitute, and would sing the fado in taverns, were she encounters a Count, Armando de Vimioso, bohemian, and a celebrated and aristocratic bullfighter. After Maria sings for Armando, a passionate romance begins. Armando’s mother, Constanca, forbids the romance, being a scandal in the family! The House of the Counts of Vimioso had also close links with the Portuguese royal family.
Casa da Severa, Mouraria Lisbon: talented fadista Tania Oleiro, accompanied by Ricardo Parreira and Marco Oliveira
People who like to gather here are musicians, actors, journalists and residents of surrounding neighborhoods. Casa da Severa works as an extension to the Fado Museum. To better understand the history of Lisbon’s song, it is essential to visit the museum, located in the nearby area Alfama.
Fado house Casa da Severa Lisbon, a part of the audience. February 14, 2013
You can have dinner, or just enjoy some snacks and a couple of drinks. We sat on one of the tables with a typical colourful tablecloth and waited for what was to come. We were surprised by fadista Tania Oleiro and the delights of a good dinner (from 20:00 pm) It is a small space with ten tables, so if you wish to dine here, make a reservation.
Casa da Severa, Mouraria Lisbon February 14: dinner with Josephine Lucassen (tourist guide) and Jorge Torres
Our dinner: Peixinhos da Horta (fried green beans, a free ‘tapa’), prato do dia (dish of the day: pork liver) € 13,90, bacalhau (cod fish) € 16,90, bife € 15,90, and 2 bottles of red wine € 21,80 (around € 25 per person).
YouTube movie about the area and people who live here , people in the street try to sing fado
Rua do Capelão Mouraria Lisbon: famous fado singers & beautiful wall portraits in the streets: Amália Rodrigues, Fernanda Maria & Francisco Martinho
Retratos do Fado – Um tributo à Mouraria. (Portraits of Fado – A tribute to Mouraria). This is a permanent exhibition of fabulous photos printed on wood on the walls of the streets in a tribute to fadistas with a strong connection to the neighbourhood. A great idea! Created by British photographer Camilla Watson , who has been living in the area for 6 years.
In summertime you can enjoy well-known fado performers in front of ’Casa da Severa’ (YouTube). In coordination with the Fado Museum, ‘Casa da Severa’ offers several cultural initiatives related to fado music in a completely renovated space. Film screenings, book readings and fado performers are the responsibility of Helder Moutinho.
Fado House ‘Casa da Severa’, Largo da Severa 2, Mouraria Lisbon.
Reservations: (00351) 96 476 60 56. Facebook (dates and names fado singers)
Mouraria Lisbon, Escadinhas de São Cristóvão
Together with Alfama, Mouraria is the oldest part of Lisbon. Sometimes tourists are told this is a “dangerous ” neighborhood. But the reality is that nowadays this area is a popular and fashionable part of Lisbon. The Mouraria district is less touristy and therefore much purer but more impoverished. Currently, the district is gradually renovated.