Thursday, July 16, 2015

Lisbon: Fado

This series of posts describes a study abroad course in which students visited several central banks and talked with central bankers about how they responded to—and sometimes failed to respond to—the global financial crisis, and how they are adjusting to their new roles.

by Brittany Cline

Wow, so we are now exactly halfway through our trip and here we are in Lisbon, Portugal.  Lisbon is an incredible city full of beauty and culture.  The weather here is perfectly breezy too!  Today we walked all over the city and did some amazing site seeing so it was really nice to wind down our day with enjoying our first Fado.

First, I will back track a little bit to two months ago.  When Charles said that attending a Fado was the one mandatory event that we needed to attend during our free weekend in Lisbon, I can say that I was excited even though I was not entirely sure of what a Fado really was.  Charles described it as the Portuguese analogy to America’s blues music, but wow; it is so much more.

Fado really was an experience.  Let me explain.  To me, Fado felt like a type of music that really reaches the audience’s soul.  No one in our group speaks Portuguese, yet some of us were tapping our feet and bopping our heads to the music.  How can that be when we could not even fully understand the music?  I think it was due to the enthusiasm of the singers.  The singers were so engaging and passionate, which guided us to feel the depth behind the song even without knowing the lyrics.  The crowd interaction was great too.  From the captivating eye contact to arms reaching out to the audience, I felt the soul behind the music.

There were multiple rounds of singers so we had the option of staying relatively late into the night.  After each round, some people left and more people came inside.  The restaurant was so cozy so it was amazing to see so many people arrive and pack in tight to enjoy the music.  The Fado only consisted of one person singing, one person playing guitar, and another person playing an instrument similar to the guitar.  Together, this small group was able to finesse a beautifully cultured song that pleased the crowd each time.  I see Fado as a remarkable symbol of Portugal’s nationality.  What an amazing way to immerse ourselves in Portugal’s culture!  From the late evening dinner to the crowd packed restaurant to the sound of others speaking Portuguese in the background, I have to say that the Fado was an experience we will never forget.

Oh, and let me not fail to mention the mouth watering food that was served and the incredible service.  I think I speak for the entire group when I say that the amount of bread we devoured that night was incredible.  The warm bread, the delicious salmon, and the assortment of desserts really topped off the night!

Experiencing Fado really did bring our trip to Lisbon full circle.  It was a really nice way for us to bond as an entire group.  We are so grateful for the experience--to eat and to be entertained!


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