Photos: Duo brings Portugal’s fado folk music out of the closet

The duo "Fado Bicha" appropriates the heritage of fado, Portugal's traditional style of folk music to sing about the gay community's pain and revolt in lyrics not heard before in the art form. The love story of a fisherman with a fishmonger, the desperation of a homosexual dancer locked up in a psychiatric hospital or the pride of a transsexual woman who became an activists’ figurehead for LGBTI rights echoes in their music.

Updated On Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST 8 Photos
Copy Link
1 / 8
Tiago Lila aka Lila Fadista (R) and Joao Cacador (L) at Late Birds hotel in Lisbon. Together, the duo makes up the band “Fado Bicha”, which translates from Portuguese as “Fado Queer”. Although not widely known among the general public, they have toured Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium, performing around 150 concerts since 2017. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Tiago Lila aka Lila Fadista (R) and Joao Cacador (L) at Late Birds hotel in Lisbon. Together, the duo makes up the band “Fado Bicha”, which translates from Portuguese as “Fado Queer”. Although not widely known among the general public, they have toured Portugal, Spain, France and Belgium, performing around 150 concerts since 2017. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
2 / 8
Lila Fadista gets ready before a photo session. The duo likes to make regular appearances in Lisbon, home to many dimly-lit bars featuring live fado music. Their melancholy genre speaks of the struggles of daily life, sung in soulful tones, born on the margins of Portuguese society at the end of the 18th century. Since 2011, it has been inscribed by UNESCO as part of Portugal’s cultural heritage. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Lila Fadista gets ready before a photo session. The duo likes to make regular appearances in Lisbon, home to many dimly-lit bars featuring live fado music. Their melancholy genre speaks of the struggles of daily life, sung in soulful tones, born on the margins of Portuguese society at the end of the 18th century. Since 2011, it has been inscribed by UNESCO as part of Portugal’s cultural heritage. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
3 / 8
In Lisbon, the duo performs at The Late Birds hotel, an urban resort catering for gay men in the capital’s trendy Bairro Alto neighbourhood. The audience listens intently. Rather than sticking to classic fado themes of general malaise, the pair, who are themselves both gay, take the traditional style but turn the lyrics to LGBTI stories. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

In Lisbon, the duo performs at The Late Birds hotel, an urban resort catering for gay men in the capital’s trendy Bairro Alto neighbourhood. The audience listens intently. Rather than sticking to classic fado themes of general malaise, the pair, who are themselves both gay, take the traditional style but turn the lyrics to LGBTI stories. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
4 / 8
Tiago Lila aka Lila Fadista (R) and guitarist Joao Cacador (L) perform during a studio session to record their first album. “When I sing fado, I feel a feminine energy,” said 34-year-old Lila. “It’s the solution I found to live my dreams without having to give up my identity”, said Lila, a psychologist by training, who abandoned formal fado school to create his cross-dressing alter ego. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Tiago Lila aka Lila Fadista (R) and guitarist Joao Cacador (L) perform during a studio session to record their first album. “When I sing fado, I feel a feminine energy,” said 34-year-old Lila. “It’s the solution I found to live my dreams without having to give up my identity”, said Lila, a psychologist by training, who abandoned formal fado school to create his cross-dressing alter ego. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
5 / 8
“Fado Bicha” backstage before performing at Festival Iminente in Lisbon. Lila also takes historic, well-known fado songs and rewrites them, including those by the famous fado diva Amalia Rodrigues, who died 20 years ago and is still regularly played on the radio. Another method of “liberation and subversion” is playing the songs with an electric guitar, said Cacador, 30, who studied jazz and also plays in the traditional fado bars. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

“Fado Bicha” backstage before performing at Festival Iminente in Lisbon. Lila also takes historic, well-known fado songs and rewrites them, including those by the famous fado diva Amalia Rodrigues, who died 20 years ago and is still regularly played on the radio. Another method of “liberation and subversion” is playing the songs with an electric guitar, said Cacador, 30, who studied jazz and also plays in the traditional fado bars. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
6 / 8
Fado Bicha perform live at Festival Iminente. It may have a long history but fado’s past is not squeaky clean. Maria Severa, a singer who lived in the mid-19th century, is considered the first fado singer to have shot to fame, said Lila. “But she was a gypsy and sex worker,” he added, with a mischievous smile. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Fado Bicha perform live at Festival Iminente. It may have a long history but fado’s past is not squeaky clean. Maria Severa, a singer who lived in the mid-19th century, is considered the first fado singer to have shot to fame, said Lila. “But she was a gypsy and sex worker,” he added, with a mischievous smile. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
7 / 8
Fado Bicha during a performance. Today, even if legislation has evolved to permit, for example, gay marriage, Portuguese society remains conservative. At a gig in Lisbon, audience member Ana Pereira was taken with the duo’s performance. “I do not make a distinction if it’s gay culture or not, he sings with his soul, with his guts,” she said. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Fado Bicha during a performance. Today, even if legislation has evolved to permit, for example, gay marriage, Portuguese society remains conservative. At a gig in Lisbon, audience member Ana Pereira was taken with the duo’s performance. “I do not make a distinction if it’s gay culture or not, he sings with his soul, with his guts,” she said. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
8 / 8
Tiago Lila aka Lila Fadista (R) and Joao Cacador (L) in Lisbon. As part of the effort to take fado in a different direction, “Fado Bicha” has begun recording its first album. Fado Bicha’s style of fado is a truer form than classic fado, their producer Luis Clara Gomes said, describing the duo’s as roaming, of the street and a “fado of the forgotten”. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Tiago Lila aka Lila Fadista (R) and Joao Cacador (L) in Lisbon. As part of the effort to take fado in a different direction, “Fado Bicha” has begun recording its first album. Fado Bicha’s style of fado is a truer form than classic fado, their producer Luis Clara Gomes said, describing the duo’s as roaming, of the street and a “fado of the forgotten”. (Patricia De Melo Moreira / AFP)

Updated on Oct 06, 2019 12:53 PM IST
Copy Link
SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, October 27, 2021