July 25 – Museu do Fado and Rita, Pedro do Castro and Joana Almeida, Andre Baptista, Humus
25th of July, 19:05
I’ve got so many impressions today. I’ve tried to make a logical and chronological diary, that makes sense and is also in English. But it doesn’t work. My thoughts are not chronological or logical enough to produce such a story.
The noise of Thomas, who is making humus with a smoothie blender doesn’t help either, although I will be very happy with the humus J
We are just back from a day of shooting at the Fado Museum. In the morning we met with Rita, who has organized so many things for us. Museu do Fado is a small museum but they have a lot of information about Fado. Also, they have an impressive archive of Fadosongs, lyrics, sheet music and photo’s.
In the afternoon we had an appointment with Pedro do Castro, who plays the guitarra and Joana Alameida, a young fadista.
Compared to last year we have different experiences in how musicians talk about their tradition and their music. In Scotland the music is institutionalized: there is a conservatory where you can go to and learn the music. With Fado it’s a different story: Pedro explained you just learn it by listening and playing. Some musicians we’ve spoken to are precautious about non-Portuguese people singing and playing Fado. They think you really need to integrate in the culture, because all the Fadistas and Fado musicians are one family. To become a Fadista (or Fado musician) is possible, but to become one you really need to do more than only play the music. Like the stroking saying of Pedro: ‘’you can play Fado, but you can’t just be a Fadista.’’ We also met a singer at the restaurant yesterday who was afraid we would be mocking with the Fado in our films, because he had that experience before with people who where documenting Fado. Of course this is not our intention, the opposite: we want to build a bridge between the cultures, because we also experienced that a lot of people who are not used to hear Fado think it sounds strange, but once they get to know it better they start to understand and also appreciate it. Luckily we understood each other in the end. But the precaution is understandable: while singing a Fado, you really pour out your heart, so it’s in this way intimate and fragile.
It is wonderful that we had the luck to heard striking performances today: the playing of Pedro (guitarra), Andre Rambos (viola) and the strength of Alameida so very close in front of the most famous Fado painting* was just- we have no words for this, but Annick captured it! In the evening after some troubles with filming at a café where we were not welcome anymore, despite our appointment to film, we decided to find Andre Baptista. At the Casa de Linhares we were welcomed to listen to him and he even had time for an interview- in Portuguese (which translated in English for us).
*Pedro told that the painter wanted to show how bad Fado is and that it really belonged to the lower class, but ironically Fado became more famous and appreciated because of this painting.
Gwendolynn and Dagmar