Fado in the Urban Art of Lisbon
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In this article about the presence of fado in the urban art of Lisbon, we’re going to see pieces in which these two cultural phenomenons, deeply urban, joined forces.
Fado is celebrated across the entire city that saw it born: at the museum dedicated to fado, in tributes, in casas de fado (restaurants with fado performances) of the typical neighbourhoods, in the voices of many fado singers that brought and bring this sonority to the world…
And of course, it is also represented in the street art that has become one of the highlights of the capital several years ago.
Let’s then start with the fado in the urban art of Lisbon that we’ve selected for you.
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Fado Vadio Mural
This is undoubtedly the most well-known mural allusive to fado in the city of Lisbon.
It’s located in Escadinhas de São Cristóvão, in Mouraria neighbourhood and was created in 2012 by a collective of artists: Hugo Makarov, Mário Belém, Nuno Saraiva, Pedro Soares Neves, UAT and Vanessa Teodoro.
The initiative emerged from a group of friends and residents of the former civil parish of São Cristóvão e São Lourenço, which has been integrated into the civil parish of Santa Maria Maior.
This expressive mural is rich not only in references to fado, but also to symbols and events of this neighbourhood and the city itself.
We can observe representations of the fado singers Maria Severa and Fernando Maurício and of musicians (Portuguese guitar and guitar); allusions to fado songs such as “Povo que Lavas no Rio” or “Uma Casa Portuguesa” along with bread and wine on a table, both interpreted by Amália Rodrigues.
The patron of travellers, mariners and ferrymen Saint Christopher can also be seen, due to the proximity to the Parish Church and of course the name of the mural’s location.
The residents themselves and priest Edgar Correia Clara, great supporter and promoter of the parish responsible for the preservation and restoration of the heritage of the Church of São Cristóvão, a survivor of the earthquake of 1755, naturally deserve a place in this mural too.
The presence of the symbol of the city of Lisbon is translated to a crow here, the bird that accompanied the boat that transported the remains of Saint Vincent to Lisbon.
And there’s many other references such as: the Lisbon Festivities through banderoles, sardines and wine or the march Cheira a Lisboa; the hillside of the Castle with its houses; and even the Portuguese pavement…
When passing by this mural make sure to take some time to discover the countless details that are still preserved in this ephemeral work that has curiously become part of the itinerary of tourists almost ten years ago.
Muro | Festival of Urban Art
Muro – Festival of Urban Art of Lisbon 2019 took place in the north zone of the city, more specifically in the Cruz Vermelha neighbourhood in the civil parish of Lumiar.
Music was the chosen theme and the space for the urban artists to work on couldn’t be any more special than the streets whose names are dedicated to singers, composers and musicians.
From this festival we highlight some of the pieces related to fado.
Maria Alice Murals – Third
Murals by Third in Lumiar
The street dedicated to Maria Alice, the artistic name of Glória Mendes Leal de Carvalho (1904-1996), has seven pieces that extend to Rua Pedro de Queirós Pereira by Portuguese artist Third.
This tribute to the fado singer, who was very popular in the 1930s, is constituted by murals that are spread across the side of different buildings.
In addition to the portrait of the fado singer, we can also see episodes of her life: her origin, her path, including the fact that she was one of the first fado singers to have her voice recorded in a disc, and also an allusion to two of her most successful fados “Fado Menor” and “Perseguição”…
Installation and Mural – Catarina Glam
In this festival, visual artist Catarina Glam created two pieces.
At the roundabout where Carlos Paredes Avenue, Estrada da Torre, David Mourão-Ferreira Avenue and Rua General Vasco Gonçalves come together, is the wooden installation art piece “Maria Lisboa”. This female figure with her hair tied up, a black shawl over her shoulders and wearing Heart of Viana earrings made with filigree, pays homage to fado.
Next to the same roundabout, in Estrada da Torre, the same character of the installation is transposed to the side of a building, in a mural dedicated to fado called “Nem Às Paredes Confesso” (not even to the walls I confess) which was made popular by Tristão da Silva, among others.
Murals – TVFER
It was also in Estrada da Torre, next to the mural by Glam, that the tattooist and illustrator Tvfer presented his two artistic creations in a building in ruins.
In one he presents a Portuguese guitar turned upside down and in another, a black and white drawing in honour of the outstanding guitarist Raúl Nery.
Murals in Quinta da Cabrinha
Also in 2019, at Quinta da Cabrinha in Alcântara, four works were executed, by four different artists, all dedicated to fado.
The other two murals are allusive to the musical instruments that accompany fado, the Portuguese guitar and guitar. The image on the left shows the painting by the Portuguese artist 2CARRYON and the one on the right shows the work of Spanish Ramon Puig, aka Werens.
Mural Carlos do Carmo
The tribute paid by the civil parish of Alvalade to one of the biggest names in fado can be found on the façade of the Manoel Caminha Library, at Rio de Janeiro Avenue.
Carlos do Carmo, who passed away in January 2021, is remembered here by the artist Mário Belém through a mural. It was inspired by one of the most emblematic songs of the fado singer, Lisboa Menina e Moça, which has become the official song of the capital after his disappearance.
In this painting, the “menina e moça” (girl), sitting on a pile of books, holds an open book and a crow of the city on her shoulder. Other symbols of Lisbon are also part of the composition, such as a fishwife, Saint Anthony, a manjerico (Ocimum minimum), a tram,… and in the middle a vinyl record by Carlos do Carmo.
In addition to the mentioned elements, we can also observe the Belém Tower, the Cathedral and the 25 de Abril Bridge, among other monuments.
Fado in the urban art of Lisbon does not end with the examples we’ve just shown you. There are other surprising pieces around the city that also deserve our attention. Discover them and share them with us!
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