Museum of Fado
Housing the Portuguese song
Ineluctably, Lisbon pays tribute to Fado in a museum dedicated to the most popular Portuguese song, and to those who sang and sing it. To find it, one just has to go to the neighborhood where the Soul of Fado is more lively kept.
Alfama had to be the location, as the real epicenter of the nights of Fado and guitar performances that are listened almost everywhere in the city. In one of the entrance doors of this labyrinthine neighborhood, in the Largo do Chafariz de Dentro, there we find the Museum of Fado.
Fado lives here
Opened in 1998 and remodeled a decade later, here is told the story of fado, of its great performers and musicians. Throughout the three floors of the museum, innovative media are reconciled with a rich collection of documents, which comprises former collections of records, photographs, trophies, instruments, among other objects full of history and tradition.
Several works of art where Fado is represented are also in evidence in the galleries, focusing on a lithography by Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro and the well known work of master José Malhoa, "Fado", an oil painting that inspired songs and became the quintessential image of Fado itself.
To better understand the entire nucleus, the visitor is invited to see the museum under the guidance of an audio guide, available in four languages, explaining the collection. The visitor can also select the Fados according to his/her preference. Information panels allow to access images, audio recordings, biographies, theater programs and agendas. It is also possible to book guided tours in advance for different audiences.
To inform, to teach, to entertain
In addition to the permanent exhibition space, there has always been a temporary programming where different thematic exhibitions provide for a deeper understanding of Fado key figures, or finding out new and often unexpected perspectives on Fado. Such was the case with an exhibition of caricatures appeared in the press where Fado was represented. Carlos Paredes, Amália Rodrigues and Carlos do Carmo are some important names that have already been displayed in the temporary gallery.
But the Museum of Fado goes further in its role as cultural adviser and makes available a specialized library and a complete database of musicians, poets and composers. Furthermore, the School of the Museum has developed several courses that promote the preservation, safeguarding and dissemination of this musical tradition.
Finally, entertainment and leisure are also covered by the shows regularly featured in both the auditorium and restaurant of the museum. Here you can enjoy the good Portuguese cuisine, which has added a touch of innovation to dishes that match the environment, presenting a modern and new vision of the fado houses.
The Museum of Fado goes, therefore, hand in hand with the tendency of Fado itself, which has continued to evolve and adapt itself to the times, never forgetting its traditions that determine the identity of Portugal most emotional song.