July, 30 diary Lisboa final diary – part 2 (28th of July – Duque da Rua)
After dwelling in Lisboa today in Chiado, starting by Rio Teijo, walking some very touristic and some very quiet streets, I decided to walk back to Alfama. Crossing Mouraria, I stopped to sit down at the exact same spot where we started the project on Monday, Graca. Surrounded by a soft breeze, crickets, French tourists who play tennis and some local youth (and their music) I will type the last part of our diary. Rick left for a festival Friday evening and Dagmar left yesterday evening, Merlijn and Thomas are staying at Casa dos Baldaques where Annick is editing our short diary of this week. In the previous part I told about Wednesday evening and Thursday, so I’ll continue with the experiences we had on Friday.
This morning we rose at 10:00 and had a slow breakfast together. After that Annick continued editing our diary of this week and Dagmar and I practiced some of our Fado’s. We decided to choose five Fado’s to prepare for this evening.
After editing and practicing, we went from Castelho, where it was very touristic and where we found a very long row before the entrance. So instead we went to view point Santa Luzia. This view points are called ‘‘miradouros’’ in Portuguese and this was one of the most wonderful we saw this week. Because of an Afro-Brazilian band playing we had to search for another spot to film some talking of Dagmar and me. The spot which we found was as beautiful one and some meters departed from the spot where the band played, but very hot. The camera and we ourselves were a bit overheated, but we managed to do a small explanation about UNESCO and – with help of Annick who interviewed us- also about the project. Rick joined us and the six of us sat down near the view point for a small pick nick with some of the risotto, fruit, avocado.
When we arrived at Duque du Rua, the Fado house was still closed since we were a bit earlier – we had our appointment at 06:30 pm. Helder arrived and welcomed us and after a few minutes, Marco, the singer we could speak to, arrived as well. We didn’t really know what was going to happen this evening, we had an appointment with Marco to sing and play and around an hour later or so, the viola and bass player would arrive. With Marco we talked a bit about the Fado, the songs, the language and played and sang some Fado’s together. Sometimes one singer at the time (which is the most usual) and sometimes together. He also sang the Fado he loved most at that time for us, without accompaniment. While he sang I felt the vibrations of his voice in the guitar I was holding and his performance of this Fado really had something mystical within it. When the viola player and the bass player arrived, the first thing they actually did was cutting all their strings off at once. Dagmar and I smiled at each other, ‘’Ah, that’s how it’s done’’, Dagmar laughed- since we where having doubts about replacing our strings last week. There was not really a moment to play together in advance, after the viola and the bass were tuned (putting new strings and tuning takes a while), the musicians went outside for a smoke. Marco had to help Helder, since he worked at the café, as some of the singers that frequented Duque da Rua did. Dagmar and I thought it best to let the musicians have the time they liked – we would do the playing together on the spot. I was a bit worried that they might have the expectation that we would play all the Fado’s together with them and accompany all the singers of that evening, so I had a small chat with the viola and bass player. They said that it was totally fine if we’d like to play and sing some Fado’s and they would play along.
So we tuned our instruments and sat down with them. But in the end they did think it was our intention to accompany every singer. Since the first song was very easy and we where sitting next to the other musicians Dagmar and I played along. Of course it was nice to play together with the other musicians, but we didn’t want to disturb the singers. So I decided to listen after the first song and Dagmar played some songs and I asked the musicians if we could sing a Fado. We could do so and sang Fado da Saudade – which we love best and know from Carlos do Carmo – and Rosinha dos Limoes – the cheerful Fado we love most at this moment. It was wonderful to have the accompaniment of the viola, bass and of course the guitarra. ‘’Wonderful’’, the guitarra-player exclaimed after the first song. It was so friendly that he and, the other musicians and the audience in the café where so positive about our playing!
After the first break, the other musicians kept encouraging us to play along, but they didn’t mind that we accompanied only some songs and decided to stop after our own songs. For both Dagmar and me it was so nice to play in such a warm and welcome atmosphere and it gave us the possibility to feel the music and enjoy the playing. We also could speak to some people of the audience and with help of the translations of Marco, we succeeded in letting everybody sign our release forms (including some lovely Portuguese ladies we filmed during their performance). During the last part of the evening, Rik had to leave us, because he would be going to a festival this weekend. It felt strange to say goodbye and it also gave us the realisation that tomorrow would be the last day of our project. Just in time we caught the last metro.