Fado in Porto and in the northern region of Portugal

Contrary to the popular belief, Fado has existed in Oporto for decades, in fact there is a line of thought that defends Fado as a popular expression that may have derived from the popular musical expressions practiced at fairs, festivals, debulhadas or pilgrimages further north of Portugal: there are even harmonic similarities between songs such as chulas, viras or corridos, more characteristic and present in folklore and Fado.

Another interesting aspect of historical nature, is the significant number of guitar players present in the north of Portugal throughout history, having contributed greatly to the development of the Portuguese guitar as we know it today, as well as the Fado accompaniment guitar. Note that the oldest model of Portuguese guitar is the so-called Porto guitar, some say that this model makes the bridge between the English guitar and the most current guitar.

Adelino Duvall

The first Fado recording was made in Porto

The Alentejo José Moças, collector and responsible for the Tradisom label, guarantees to have in his possession the "first known fado recording", made in November 1900 in Porto. "It is a 78-record record and is part of a set of more than 80 recordings of which 67 have been discovered to date," he says. "I have four of those records, two of which are fado: the Fado Hilaryo, interpreted by Duarte Silva, and Oh Julia, by José Brito." The record was made by William Sinkler Darby, a British sound engineer who passed through Porto in 1900. "The British connection to Porto was old, because of the wine, and maybe that explains why he went there. It was a trip to continental Europe to publicize the apparatus that made recordings, then the engineer went on to Madrid. He was working for Berliner, which later became EMI."

Adelino Duvall

Fado Houses and great Fado artists born in Porto

There are several Fado artists, poets and musicians from Oporto, like Tony de Matos, Beatriz da Conceição, Maria da Fé, Lenita Gentil, Florencia, Pedro Homem de Melo, António Torre da Guia or Fontes Rocha, are just a few examples that reflect the importance not only of Oporto but also of the rest of the country in the history of the national song that is Fado. Fado has always been listened in appropriate places, such as taverns, taverns, communities and of course the famous and traditional "Casas de Fado" where Fado is treated with all the rigor and ceremony, a true celebration.

Casas de Fado is admittedly the most appropriate place to watch a night of Fados the old-fashioned way. There are a series of rules that should not be broken in Fado: There is no amplification, silence is a determining factor, there are no performances during the performances, the lights are lowered and there is no circulating in the room, nor should you be interrupted. The performances alternate between the various artists, interspersed with moments in which the normal food service takes place. As D. Amalia used to say: Fado cannot be explained, it is felt ... it is consensual that it is in the Fado houses where Fado is best felt and where it really happens. In the true Portuguese tradition, Fado has always been accompanied by wine and snacks by candlelight. It was the characteristic Fado from the Fado Houses that was elected intangible heritage of humanity. In 1968, history was made because D. Heitor Gil de Vilhena made a pact with Fado, thus appearing the cathedral of Fado in Oporto, the Casa da Mariquinhas.

Casa da Mariquinhas is located in the heart of the city, in the typical neighborhood of Sé, in front of the Santana Arch, immortalized by Garrett, and at the foot of the Sé Cathedral. With 52 years of history, this mythical place exudes Fado through the pores of its granite walls. Here passed and still pass all the great names of national Fado, without microphones, with the greatest intimacy and proximity to the public, making Casa da Mariquinhas the ideal place to enjoy the best Fado that is sung and played in Oporto, accompanied by the best traditional Portuguese cuisine by the hand of Chef. Sandra Santos and the best nectars of our Douro. For those who come to Porto a visit to this establishment recognized as of historical and cultural interest is a must.

Adelino Duvall

The Portuguese Guitar and its Guitarists

The Portuguese Guitar is a string musical instrument, commonly linked to the history of Fado. Created during the late 18th century, little is known about the origin of this musical instrument, since there is not enough documentation to prove it. Made of wood and other noble materials, it is made of 12 strings, divided in pairs.
The Guitarra Portuguesa can be divided into three types - the Guitarra de Coimbra, the Guitarra de Lisboa and the Guitarra do Porto - differing mainly in the manufacturing practices. While the Guitarra de Lisboa is the smallest of the three, featuring a rounded case and snail-shaped head, the Guitarra da Coimbra is larger, sharper in shape, and has a teardrop-shaped inlaid head. The shape and construction of the Guitar from Porto is similar to that of Lisbon.
In the same way that Fado is made with the voice of its interpreter, the sound of the guitar is also made with those who play it. We leave some of the most known names in this environment.

Armando Augusto Salgado Freire

Better known as Armandinho, Armando Freire is considered one of the most important figures in the history of Fado. He was born in 1891 and at the age of 14 began his training in Portuguese Guitar. In the same year he performed for the first time at the Trinas Theater, where he began his career. During his life he participated in several compositions, artistic tours and interpretations, which eventually became classics.

Martinho d'Assunção

Martinho d'Assunção was born in 1914, in Lisbon. He studied music at an early age, and in 1927 he turned his attention to the Portuguese Guitar. Until then he had studied other instruments such as the viola, the mandolin and the violin. During his career he played in several national and international stages, alongside names such as Armandinho, Ercília Costa and João de Mata.

João de Mata

Guitarist and poet, João de Mata has played alongside names such as Armandinho and Martinho d'Assunção during his career. He was part of the Fado Artistic Group, with whom he toured Africa. Besides his career as a Guitarrist, he was the director of the Canção Nacional Newspaper between 1927 and 1928, and editor and writer of the Guitarra de Portugal newspaper until the year of his death.

Jaime Santos

Jaime Santos was born in 1909 into a humble family. At the age of 12 he already played the viola, violin and mandolin. Years later he learned to play the Portuguese guitar and started his career. Throughout his life he played alongside great names in Fado, including Georgino de Sousa (his father-in-law), Armandinho, Martinho d'Assunção and Amália Rodrigues.

Raul Nery

Raul Nery made his debut on the Portuguese Guitar when he was only 9 years old. He quickly became known in the music world and even accompanied Amália Rodrigues in several of her national and international tours. At the peak of his career he became an Engineering Technician Agent, a profession he would later pursue along with his music. He retired early from his career as a guitarist, but left his mark on hundreds of recordings by some of the most important names in Fado.

Fado is made with its singers

More than the history and mysteries associated with Fado, the height of this musical style is due to the voices and interpretations of those who recite it. It is the names of departed artists, allied to current artists, that bring excellence to this Portuguese style.
Among the mixture of emotions and memories provided in each musical moment, we present you some of the best known names in Portuguese Fado.

Amália Rodrigues

We have much to thank Amália Rodrigues, Queen of Fado. Between the years 1943 and 1990 she performed in five continents, the highlight being in the United States of America, where she participated in the NBC program Coke Time with Eddie Fisher in the year 1953. Already at this time she was the first Portuguese artist to appear on American television.
Besides music, Amália Rodrigues made her debut in several magazine plays and in cinema, with Fado always present. Even today you can still hear her interpretations, which serve as an example to many.
Her awards and splendor took her to the National Pantheon in Lisbon, where she lies since 2001. Among her best known songs is "Povo que lavas no Rio" a classic of Portuguese fado.

Carlos do Carmo

Another important name in Fado is Carlos do Carmo, son of Fado singer Lucília do Carmo, acclaimed since 1963, when he first interpreted Fado "Loucura" by Júlio de Sousa. Still in the beginning of his career, the fadista received several distinctions.
He made his debut outside Portugal in 1970 with concerts in Angola, the United States, and Canada. In 1976, he participated in the Eurovision Festival that took place in Holland. Here he interpreted the song "Uma Flor de Verde Pinho" by Manuel Alegre, which became part of the album "Uma Canção para a Europa".

Augusto Hilário

Father of the acclaimed Fado Hilário, Augusto Hilário had contact with Fado when he arrived in Coimbra between 1889 and 1890 to study medicine.
Soon his interpretations became known throughout the country. In addition to interpreting poems of the authors of the time, he wrote several songs that became immortalized in the society. Although his time in Fado was short, his death was mourned by family, friends, admirers and acquaintances.


After Amália Rodrigues, Mariza is the best known name in Fado and Portuguese music internationally. Her first album, Fado em Mim, was released in 2001 by World Connection and reached 32 countries, making her the talk of the world. From it comes her interpretation of the song "Ó gente da Minha Terra", written by Amália Rodrigues.
From then on, Mariza continued to grow and released her second album, Fado Curvo, where she interprets the song "Primavera". This album reached 6th place on the Billboard World Music chart.
Since then, she released five more albums and was present on some of the biggest and most important international stages, having collaborated with big names in the music industry.


Carlos Manuel Moutinho Paiva dos Santos, better known as Camané, is one of the brightest names in Fado of this generation. He began his career as an amateur fado singer and at the age of 12 he won the annual "Grande Noite do Fado" event, where over the years names like Marina Mota, Anabela Pires, Raquel Tavares and Ricardo Ribeiro participated.
Participation in this event opened doors for her in the music business, including participation in several plays by Filipe La Féria. In 2000, he won a silver disc for the sale of 10 thousand copies of his 3rd album. The following year he won a second silver disc, just three weeks after releasing his 4th album. In turn, the fado singer's 5th album received a gold record.
Camané's career continues to cross borders, treading some of the most important international stages.

Alfredo Marceneiro

Alfredo Marceneiro marked his generation of Fado singers. He began singing around 1905, when he was only 13 years old, and quickly became known for his music and improvisations.
He participated in parties and cegadas until 1924, the year he performed at the São Luiz Theater and won a Silver Medal. He retired in 1963, in the same place that saw him win an award, but not for that he stopped singing.
From this time, remains his album "The Fabulous Marceneiro" considered by Blitz as one of the best Portuguese records ever.
On June 10, 1984, years after his death, he was awarded the Comenda da Ordem Infante D. Henrique by General Ramalho Eanes, until then President of the Republic.

Fado – Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Declared as Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, Fado became on November 27, 2011 the first Portuguese artistic expression to be recognized by this organizational institution.
The candidacy came about in June 2010, through an initiative of the Lisbon City Hall and the Fado Museum, to value this Portuguese musical style. It was approved a year later at the VI Intergovernmental Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which took place in Nusa Dua, on the Indonesian island of Bali.
This distinction praised fado as a tradition and expression of the country's cultural identity, with names like Mariza and Carlos do Carmo as ambassadors.

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