Fado history Mouraria Lisbon: a passionate liaison & first Fado singer Maria Severa

Historic area Mouraria contains a tangled street layout just as in Alfama, which has remained since the times of the Moors.

Mouraria Historical Center typical lley

Mouraria, Lisbon, one of Lisbon’s oldest districts.

The Arabs withdrew into this quarter after Lisbon was conquered by the Portuguese – a ghetto for people of different faiths arose. In the 19th C. prostitution and fado, which at this time was considered to be indecent, brought the quarter a bad name.

Mouraria Lisbon: Escadinhas de São Cristóvão. How to get there

Nowadays renovation of houses, which are threatened with falling into ruins, and an improvement in the living standards of the inhabitants of Mouraria has only begun recently. The area is full of typical grocery stores, old bars (taverna’s) and cheap (but good!) small restaurants.

Looking for a vacation stay in Lisbon? My Three bedroom apartment with sunny pátio (30 m2) in Mouraria – (short term rentals).

Mouraria historical center fado Rua da Severa


Largo da Severa’ Lisbon in area Mouraria.

Fado

It is said that the melancholic sounds of the music and singing of the Moorish people was at the base of fado music. The quarter is still today associated with fado: The ‘Casa de Severa’ at Largo da Severa 2 was the home of the legendary fadista Maria Severa Onofriando, who died at age 26 on November 30, 1846, either from suicide or tuberculosis.

Famous performer of fado Amália Rodrigues (”Lady of Lisbon”) the ‘queen of Fado’ was born near Mouraria on Rua Martim Faz.

Mouraria historical center fado plaque

(‘Mouraria, sculpture Berço do Fado‘, fado was born here)

Rua da Mouraria/ corner Rua do Capelão. Maria Severa is regarded as the first fado singer to have risen to fame, attaining a near-mythical status after her death: Maria had a passionate liaison with a nobleman, Conde de Vimioso. The affair ended badly. But the scandal increased fado’s appeal, leading to the publication of its first sheet music.

Fado Maria Severa painting

Famous painting Maria da Severa, regarded as the first fado singer

Fadistas, as fado singers are known, often wear a black shawl of mourning, as Severa did after her heartbreak. Her story epitomizes fado’s connection with saudade, “a feeling of longing or nostalgia”.

Mouraria Historical Center house Maria Severa fado singer

Fadista Maria da Severa’s house

UPDATE 2014:

Maria da Severa’s house is beautifully remodeled, you can enjoy pure fado here and traditional Portuguese food

There is a plaque in Maria Severa’s memory and a stylized fado guitar can be seen on the newly surfaced road where she lived. The memory of the singer is also kept alive in the pub called “Os Amigos da Severa” (the Friends of Severa) in the nearby Rua do Capelao , with a painting of her hanging on the wall.

Mouraria Fado Friends of Maria Severa

Cafe “Os Amigos da Severa” (the Friends of Severa) Mouraria Lisbon

Rua do Capelao 32, owner senhor Antonio Correia Alves Pais

Walk with friends Ans and Loek in Mouraria: a sua saúde ! Picture: Loek Polack

More about this remarkable little bar.

Bar ‘da Velha Senhora’ Lisbon: burlesque, revue & the day Cesária Évora died

If you like burlesque performances, glittering revue shows and cabaret a must-go place is bar “da Velha Senhora” (Old lady’s bar) in Lisbon! Video:

‘Hallooooooooooooooooooo!”  2 beautiful ladies invite you to enjoy the show

Bar da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

While eating traditional Portuguese snacks (“petiscos“) you can enjoy various artistic performances. This bar is in the same typical Portuguese 18th-century building as Pensão Amor” (a former ‘love’ guesthouse), with a wonderful unique décor . Also really worth a visit!

Stage Bar ”da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

Inside, almost everything complies with the burlesque theme and imagery of Lisbon in the early twentieth century. The building itself – a cultural and artistic project – witnesses the time that thirsty sailors docked in the harbor and spent their free time drinking booze and have fun with women.

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

Former Lisbon’s red light district

The stories of prostitutes and sailors are inseparable from Cais do Sodré, formerly known as Lisbon’s red light district with bars named after northern European capitals (like Copenhagen, or Roterdão, Rotterdam) to attract their sailors who stepped off their boats here.

But times have changed: nowaydays it is a great area to go out at night! Musicbox is a trendy hotspot for live bands and DJ’s, disco clubs Tokyo and Jamaica became two of the most loved alternative clubs in Lisbon.

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” & DJ Rycardo Lisbon, December 17, 2011

The day Cesária Évora died

I will never forget the day Cesária Évora died, December 17, 2011. Early in the evening we went to Bar da Velha Senhora. When DJ Rycardo started to play the famous and wonderful songs of Cesária, suddenly all the people in the bar started spontaneously clapping their hands and some began to cry … I still get goosebumps thinking about that day…!

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” & DJ Rycardo Lisbon: the day Cesária Évora died

A woman jumped on the table and started to dance…….   Amazing!

Popular singer Cesária Évora, “the Barefoot Diva’, has made Cape (Cabo) Verde famous all over the world. She generally performed in bare feet, as a sign of solidarity for the large number of women and children back home in the Cape Verdean Islands who cannot afford shoes.

Cesária Évora: ‘Miss Perfumado (youtube). More about former Portuguese colony Cape Verde (from 1456-1975)

Bar ”da Velha Senhora” Cais do Sodré, Lisbon

Rua Nova do Carvalho 38, Cais do Sodré, Lisbon, tel. (00351)351 213 468 479. Open: Tuesday to Sunday 6pm to 4am . FACEBOOK

Metro: Cais do Sodré. Facebook.com/bardavelhasenhora

Saint Anthony Lisbon party time in June: parades, sardines & Fado music

In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities, parades and live music that take over the city’s historical center.

Lisbon Santo Antonio June garlands Mouraria

Mouraria

The main Saints’ days are for Santo Antonio (June 12-13), John (June 23-24) and Peter (June 28-29). Program Festas de Lisboa’ (also in English)

All the streets in the historical center are decorated with garlands and lights.

Lisbon Santo Antonio 2 women Alfama

Historic Alfama, in June 2008.

Santo Antonio festivities & Portuguese flags (EFC) football

Lisbon craziest night of the year in area Alfama, nearby Mouraria (YouTube)

Lisbon Santo Antonio June restaurant A Tasquinha

Restaurant ‘A Tasquinha’,

Largo Contador Mor, Castelo area, really good sardines!

Lisbon Santo Antonio June Fado Restaurante A Tasquinha area Castelo

Eating sardines while listening to the fado singers.

Fado came long after Saint Anthony, but its major theme is nostalgia and longing-for what is lost and for what has never been gained. Anthony fits right into this scene!

Lisbn June Santo Antonio Faso Alfama

Live fado music in Alfama

The streets are filled with the delicious (strong) smell of sardines being grilled. It’s not a good time for the sardines 😉 though as everywhere in Lisbon you see people grilling sardines outside their homes and the narrow streets fill up people in party mood.

Lison Santo Antoinio June sardines

Sardines & Saint Anthony festivities belong together

On the night of June 12 you can enjoy the famous yearly Santo Antonio costume Parade. All the clubs and associations of Lisbons’ neighbourhoods descend on Avenida da Liberdade to compete for the best parade, music, costume and choreography.

Santo Antionio costume Parade Lisbon

More…..

Santo Antonio (Saint Anthony) Mouraria 2 girls

Fado, knives & blood & artist Carlos Fernandez Mouraria Lisbon

Artist Carlos Fernandez was born and raised in Mouraria, a historic (old Moorish) down town area in Lisbon. Together with Alfama, the Mouraria area is a muddle of very narrow streets and small squares, which gives the visitor a glimpse of a forgotten age.

Carlos Fernandez artist Mouraria Lisbon 1

Mouraria, Lisbon: nostalgic drawing by Carlos Fernandez

Carlos Fernandez earns his bread as a tattoo artist (tattoos are very popular in the neighborhood), and besides he loves it to create nostalgic drawings about the typical characteristics, traditions, history and culture about the 900 years neighborhood Mouraria in Lisbon, such as the Fado guitar and Fado singers.

fado-maria-severa-cafe Mouraria painting

Legendary Fado singer Maria Severa

Maria Severa, the first Fadista , who died at age 26 in1846, either from suicide or tuberculosis, was born in this area. A very sad story! Famous performer of Fado Amália Rodrigues (”Lady of Lisbon”) the ‘queen of Fado’ , was born near Mouraria , Rua Martim Faz. No neighborhood in Lisbon is praised more in Fado music than Mouraria.

Carlos Fernandez artist Mouraria Lisbon 2

Carlos Fernandez

Historical area Mouraria exists 900 years, and together with Alfama Lisbon’s oldest neighborhoods of great historical value.

Carlos Fernandez: “In the past there were many fights between the two areas: the sailors who lived in Alfama and the gangs of Mouraria were fighting against each other. My drawings are about ‘nostalgia’, and they are my interpretation of the neighborhood, such as prostitution (putas), drugs, bullfighting, card playing, fishermen and fishwives (pescadores e varinhas) and selling newspapers on the street”.

Mouraria in June Santo Antonio guirlandes

Mouraria in June, (Feast Days of the Popular Saints)

Carlos: ” And of course football (Benfica/Sporting), chestnuts (castanhas, in yellow papers), the vintage yellow trams in Lisbon (eléctrico), Feira da Ladra (litt. thieves market), the 25 April revolution, pickpocketing, cheap wine like bull’s blood (Sangue de touro), hanging laundry, cats on the roofs, birds in cages and traditions like Santo Antonio in June and eating sardines (sardinhas)”.

Carlos Fernandez artist Mouraria Lisbon 3 tram 28 electrico

‘Old tram 28’ (eléctrico), nowadays a very popular tourist attraction, drawing by Carlos Fernandez

The legendary tram 28 is a tourist attraction in itself. It goes all around town. You can hop on and hop off. A ride with ‘eléctrico’ tram 28 will bring you to most historical attractions in Lisbon. Besides: tram 28 is increasingly as popular with pickpockets as it is with tourists.

Carlos Fernandez artist Mouraria Lisbon 4

Drawing Carlos Fernandez: ‘Mouraria’

In June, the month of the Festas dos Santos Populares (Feast Days of the Popular Saints), the Lisbon nights are filled with lively festivities, parades and live music that take over the city’s historical center, and of course it’s party time in Mouraria!.

Carlos Fernandez artist Mouraria Lisbon exposition Santo Antonio recycled plastic

Santo Antonio, the Saint of true love… This beautiful one is made from recycled material

The main Saints’ days are for Anthony (Santo Antonio June 12-13), John (June 23-24) and Peter (June 28-29). Traditionally millions of big and tasty sardines (sardinhas), accompanied by traditional bread, are grilled in the month of June, high season for this delicious silvery fish. Even the yellow trams are decorated with sardines!

Mouraria Lisbon old yellow tram santo antonio sardines

Mouraria in June: Fado performances in old yellow trams decorated with sardines.

Looking for a short time rental apartment in Lisbon? Please check the calendar of my Authentic apartment for rent in this 900 years old area of Lisbon

Lisbon’s craziest night is June 12, eve of Saint Anthony day , Lisbon turns into one big party. People are dancing in the streets on Pimba music – a term used for a variety of popular Portuguese folk solo singers and bands whose songs are frequently driven by metaphors with sexual meaning.

Carlos Fernandez artist Mouraria Lisbon exposition viewpoint Santa Luzia

Exposition Carlos Fernandez, Santa Luzia, Lisbon. The municipality of Lisbon owns this building

An exposition was held in this beautiful small building near the Tagus River: ‘Fado, Knives and Blood’ (‘Fado, Navalhas e Sangue’).

If you are interested to see more of Carlos’ work (and prices), you can send him an email: fadonavalhasesangue@gmail.com

Carlos Fernandez artist exposition Santa Luzia Lisbon

Tourists are interested to see the exposition, Santa Luzia

Besides: Santa Luzia is a very popular and historical viewpoint (miradouro) in Lisbon, next to viewpoint Portas do Sol. Amazing views overlooking the Alfama rooftops and the river Tagus!

Traditional Fado Vadio Lisbon: taverna ‘Tasca do Jaime’ & black shawl of mourning

UPDATE 2015

Enjoy the real fado while munching on freshly-fried cod pastries in the late afternoon in Tasca do Jaime, one of the most intriguing of Lisbon’s ‘tavernas’. Traditionally, the Fado houses are popular and a meeting spot for families and friends. Close to Lisbon’s legendary flea market ‘Feira da Ladra’

tasca do jaime 2

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon: real fado music

You won’t always find the best fadistas, but don’t let that scare you off. This is real traditional fado, out of the tourist circle, where the fado singers can enter spontaneously and improvise.

tasca do jaime 1

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon, Saturday afternoon

As soon as somebody gets up to sing the audience stops talking and all the attention is on the singer. The Portuguese have a lot of respect for the performers and it is of utmost importance that the singers can concentrate and express their emotions in their singing. When the song is about to finish the audience starts applauding and cheering.

tasca do jaime 3

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon

Fado Vadio on Saturdays, Sundays and public Holidays from 16:00 to 20:00, Rua da Graça 91, Lisbon.

tasca do jaime 4

‘Tasca do Jaime’ taverna Lisbon

Fadistas, as fado singers are known, often wear a black shawl of mourning, as one of Maria Severa did after her heartbreak. Her story epitomizes fado’s connection with saudade, “a feeling of longing or nostalgia”.

Bar ‘ANOS 60’ in area Mouraria Lisbon: the sixties, history & owner Fernando Casanova

UPDATE November 2016: bar ‘ANOS 60’ is closed


Mouraria Lisbon ANOS 60 July 2014 trendy bar

Young people from the US visiting Lisbon, bar ANOS 60 historic area Mouraria Lisbon, July 2014

History BAR ANOS 60 Mouraria (written in 2008)

This unique bar and top-class restaurant has been established in the nineties in the  historic Mouraria neighbourhood and is located at Largo do Terreirinho. It is also one of the best places to talk politics (also in English) and to listen to live music (Fado/Brasilian a.o.). The owner, senhor Fernando Casanova, chose the area of Mouraria because of the historic nature of the neighborhood.

Anos 60 Bar in Mouraria live music

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

Politicians, journalists and many local celebrities meet up in ‘Anos 60’ to discuss politics, dine and enjoy the live Brazilian and Portuguese music. Mariza, the internationally well-known fado singer started her career in Mouraria where she grew up and performed many times in ‘ANOS 60’.

Lisbon Bar Anos 60 Mouraria Che Guevara

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

Che Guevara . ‘Anos 60′ means ‘the sixties’. The name was chosen because of the rough political times in the sixties in Portugal, when the Portuguese people suffered under the corrupt dictator António de Oliveira Salazar, president of the Council of Ministers of Portugal for 36 years, from 1932 to 1968, and founder of the Estado Novo (New Regime).

On April 25, 1974, the Estado Novo finally fell with the Carnation Revolution.

Lisbon Mouraria Bar Anos 60 live music

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

ANOS 60 owner Fernando Casanova was, as a journalist, part of the intellectual opposition and in his bar still many discussion about the era of the revolution take place. Fernando contributed for 2 years to the political newspaper “Aqui” which was published during the period of the revolution. The Club de Jornalistas’ in Lapa, which now has 700 members, has a strong connection to the bar.

Anos 60-Fernando-Casanova-Lisbon-Mouraria

Fernando Casanova , owner of bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

The clock in ‘ANOS 60’ stands still at 04:10. Stories go round that this was the time that the Carnation Revolution started… But according to Fernando, it has another reason. It has to do with the official closing time: 04:00. In the weekends the bar usually closes later. After dancing the night away you walk out onto the street at 07:00, but the clock still indicates 04:10!

Anos 60-Lisbon-Mouraria-clock

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon

Street parties in June

In the month of June, festivities take place all over Portugal to celebrate three popular Saints – Santo António, São João and São Pedro.

The traditional neighborhoods Mouraria and Alfama are decorated in many colours and all the people are dancing in the streets and having barbeques, grilling sardinhas (sardines).

Lisbon Santo Antonio Mouraria june 09 Largo bar Anos 60 2

Bar/restaurant ‘ANOS 60’ in Mouraria Lisbon in June: dinner outside

Bar ANOS 60 (closed in 2016)
Largo do Terreirinho 21, 1170 Lisbon.

More about  area Mouraria Lisbon (2020)