Fado is a Portuguese traditional music genre, added in 2011 to the list of World’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. It has always been present in Portuguese art, from past centuries paintings to today’s modern graffiti walls.
The most famous Fado graffiti tribute in Lisbon is Fado Vadio, a wall located in the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão. It is a project of the Movimento dos Amigos de São Cristóvão, a small group of people living in the neighborhood that got together to improve and embellish the area, with the help of some talented artists.
Escadinhas de São Cristóvão is one of the many typical narrow, steep streets in the old neighborhoods of Mouraria, which is probably the birth place of Fado.
From what I’ve read on a news site, the decrepit building where the Fado Vadio was painted belongs to a public company who agreed with this project, since it had no money to restore it themselves. A popular brand donated the paint, and the artists worked for two days to make a beautiful piece that really turned this little corner into an even more special place.
The painting is full of symbols and references connected not only to Fado (it included popular fado singers like Maria Severa and Fernando Maurício), but also to the city and the neighborhood, like the image of São Cristóvão, patron of the travelers. There are song lyrics, the popular decorations of the city festivities and, of course, bread and wine!
There is another Fado-themed graffiti in the city that I love and it is not far. In a small street between the Restauradores Square and the street Portas de Santo Antão, you will hopefully find this beautiful tribute to the great Fado singer, Amália Rodrigues.
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