Open Mic at the Fado Joint

When traveling in Europe, we seek out the living traditions. And many of them survive only as clichés for tourists watching tacky stage shows. But Portugal’s fado (traditional, mournful folk tunes) can still be enjoyed in rustic, authentic settings like this characteristic little eatery (Restaurante A Baiuca, recommended in my guidebook), deep in Lisbon’s Alfama. I filmed in this joint years ago, capturing a magic moment for our TV show–and it’s been in my guidebook ever since. I was anxious to return, afraid that the magic would be gone. Thankfully, it survives. This is “fado vadio”–open mic where any amateur (like the man here) is welcome to share a song. Eating dinner here, with a line of neighbors hanging outside the restaurant door waiting their turn to sing, makes a delightful memory. The cost? Just buy dinner–about $20 with lots of wine.

If you can’t see the video below, watch it on YouTube.

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