July, 30 diary Lisboa final diary – part 3 (29th 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 our final day: Saturday.
Today we rose very early to experience one of the most touristic activities in Liboa: a trip in tram 28. We got up at 06:00 and got into a tram where Annick could film through the window. We were just texting Rik to ask where we should get out to visit the grave of Amalia. At the national Panteon we got out and visited the grave. The pantheon is an impressive massive building and the surrounding houses formed a beautiful spot. We did some filming, had some breakfast and got back on the tram. Now it was a lot fuller and we did not have a place near the window, so we decided to hop off at the soonest spot that might be of interest to film. We found a ‘’jardim’’ (garden), where we all had the feeling of being in Artis, or some tropical place, because of all the palm- and deeply rooted jungle-like trees. We indicated what we still needed to shoot and went to another ‘’miradouro’’, to do the last filming at a place with a beautiful view of Lisboa at the background. Except for the not so Fado-like keyboard player (who did all kind of classics, like ‘Fur Elise, Comptine d’une autre Ete, ‘He’s a Pirate’ and so on), we had a very good spot and succeeded to shoot the last talking of Dagmar and me. After some lemonade to cool down: our last mission was to do a shot in front of the ‘Museu de Fado’ and some street conversations about the Fado. This was being quite though, because Saturday really was the hottest day so far and all the people we tried to speak to were either in a hurry or to overheated. In the gelato shop Thomas and Merlijn had been staying, the saleswoman told me a very beautiful story about the Fado, unfortunately she didn’t want us to film. She said that Fado was originally a song from the broken-hearted: the men that would go overseas in the thirties and forties, would write to their women in Lisboa and they would write back. The letters became the lyrics for Fado. I’m not sure if this is historically correct, since there are a lot of stories around the birth of Fado and Sarah Perreira (director of the museum) told us a different one, but at least it’s a very romantic idea. The saleswoman also told that she grew up a few houses next to the house of Amalia and that when she was being puckish as a child, Amalia would correct her. She knew her as a woman who was very involved with all people, very friendly and she recommended me to go to her house, which Is now turned into a museum. She said that she was a person who would love a piece of bread, she would love soup and that during the last three years of her live Portugal and Lisboa had forgotten her. But after her dead (1999) she became loved again and every Fado singer refers to her. the Dagmar had to leave this evening, so we decided to walk to buy some food for her trip and walk to a restaurant. During this walk we passed by a shop, where the salesgirl was very willing to answer our questions and we even had a little adventure when we decided to try the same in a liquor store. The saleswoman who was willing to answer our questions also introduced us to a port that tasted very good. If not for the great bottles we couldn’t take along on our further traveling, we would’ve certainly bought at least one. For an early dinner we went to Alfama, where we dined at a lovely restaurant with live Fado. It was strange to have our last evening of the project and it was a pity Rik had already left us. But we experienced wonderful music with wonderful people so we all agreed that this part of the project – our week full of adventure in Lisboa- succeeded!
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We’d like to thank everybody involved, the list is far to long to name everybody: all the wonderful musicians we heard and we’ve spoken to, they inspired us a lot and brought us closer to the Fado, the lovely Rita Oliveira of the Museu de Fado, who organised so much for us, Pedro de Castro who did not only answer our questions and played for us, but was also very kind in inviting us to dine at his Fado house ‘Associação do Fado Casto’ (if you are in Lisboa, visit this lovely place!), Joana Alameida, who sings so strongly and purely from her heart, Sarah Perreira, who explained so detailed and knows so much about the Fado, Carlos do Carmo, who gave us wise answers and whom we met as a very warm person, Helder Menezes de Aragão, who gave us the opportunity to play in his Fado house and meet a lot of people (also one of the best places to visit if you are in Lisboa ‘Duque da Rua). We feel honoured to have had the opportunity to meet every single person involved in this project.
I personally also like to thank the fantastic members of our crew: Annick, who got involved in the project in such a spontaneous way, made such beautiful shots and was is a very nice and lovely person to work with, Thomas who forms a very good team with Annick and jumped in to help at the right moments – opening the garden door, providing home-made humus, Rik, for assisting during the interviews, showing us around and bringing us to new places, being a nice person to talk to with knowledge about and interest in the Fado, Merlijn, for giving room for the project and helping where needed and finally, since she is not writing this together with me, Dagmar, whom I was working so close with and are so grateful for sharing the responsibility of the project. Without all of you this wonderful experiences would not have been possible!