A museum that tells the story of Lisbon's version of the blues. Fado started out as the music of the underclass—prostitutes, knife-wielding ruffians, and rum-swilling sailors who lurked in the dingy alleys and backstreet taverns of the city's oldest neighborhoods. The period is encapsulated in the museum's masterpiece, a 1910 painting by José Malhoa where a busty, disheveled wench sprawls enraptured by the singing of her moustachioed guitar man. Fado moved up in the world to enjoy a golden age in fancy dining halls, theaters, and the movies when Amália Rodrigues won international fame as its greatest ever star. After the 1974 revolution that ended Portugal's four long decades of dictatorship, fado fell out of fashion, tainted by association with the old regime. In recent years a new generation of youthful singers like Mariza and Ana Moura have led a revival that's won over worldwide audiences. Housed in an old pumping station on the edge of fado's heartland in the ancient Alfama district, the museum tells the tale through an interactive exhibition that lets visitors listen to some of fado's greatest hits while admiring handcrafted guitars, vintage LP covers, and the black shawls that traditionally drape the shoulders of fadistas. The museum hosts guitar and singing lessons, regular live shows, and an excellent restaurant serving dishes as typically Portuguese as the music.
Museu do Fado
Largo do Chafariz de Dentro 1
Our Rating Neighborhood Alfama Hours Tue–Sun 10am–6pm Transportation Metro: Santa Apolónia; bus: 206, 210, 728, 735 Phone 21/882-3470 Prices 5€ Web site Museu do Fado