I was looking for things to do in Coimbra when I saw the Fado ao Centro listed as the #1 recommended thing on TripAdvisor. My travel buddy and I decided we would book two seats at the 18:00 show that night. We got there early and were able to get front row seats. At first I was surprised that the lead singer spoke only in Portuguese and that there was a English translation that followed. But the music was really nice and there were even a few songs that the audience was invited to sing along. Then I realized that most of the audience was Portuguese-speaking. The show was advertised to last about 50 minutes, but our musicians played for over an hour.
After the show, there is a port wine tasting included in the price of the ticket for the show (10 euros). My travel buddy and I both study tourism, so we were interested to talk with the woman serving the port wine. In our fifteen or so minutes with her, we learned a lot about the fado center. It was started by someone passionate for fado, and there are a variety of performers who just love fado so much that they play every night of the year (including Christmas and New Year's). Because of the number of performers interested in sharing their love of fado, each night promises a different show with a selection of musicians. The center accidentally became a tourism product according to the woman we talked with as originally it was created as a way for community members to enjoy fado music on a nightly basis.
I highly recommend attending. After wandering the streets in Lisbon a few days later and seeing many restaurants offering an expensive dinner and fado show, I am so glad we saw our first fado performance in Coimbra!
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