Maria da Mouraria
There, where ‘saudade’ (sense of longing) is acclaimed as the soul of a people, filled with a spirit that is genuinely Portuguese, lies one of the oldest and most authentic secrets in the history of Lisboa: the Mystery Of Fado…
Those who pass be the Capela da Nossa Senhora da Saúde (Chapel of Our Lady of Health), at the entranceway to Mouraria, enter a world that reflects the true essence of the city, where a mixture of aromas, languages and dialects form a melting pot of cultures that seem to represent a distant past transported to the present day.
At the entrance of Rua do Capelão (Capelão Street), a sculpture of a Portuguese guitar announces Mouraria, the Cradle Of Fado. This is a short, narrow street, where time stands still, leaving us to wander its curious lanes and alleyways, the windows of the houses seemingly eager to share their stories.
It is here where Casa da Severa (Maria Severa’s House) would have once stood. Severa, a Woman who played the guitar and whose singing evoked pain and melancholy, as if she were singing of Fate, longing and disgrace, of loves and lovers lost. It was why people would say that Maria Severa “used to sing fado”.
Rebuilt and adapted by the architect José Adrião, this house is under the management of Museu do Fado. Currently, it contains a restaurant that serves Portuguese delicacies and is the only Casa de Fado (Fado House) in Mouraria.
Fado singer Hélder Moutinho, Bela and Carlos Silva welcome visitors to the restaurant, where the sound of the Portuguese Guitar, the Fado Guitar and Voices can be heard every night, from Wednesdays to Sundays. The restaurant also hosts family parties, film screenings and Fado gatherings.
There is an old saying among Fadistas, whether they be singers, musicians, poets or listeners: fado is neither created nor seen, neither sought nor idealised. It merely happens… The Mystery of Fado….