|The Fado of Coimbra||
This fado is closely linked to the academic traditions of the University of Coimbra
and is exclusively sung by men; both the singers and musicians wear the
academic outfit (traje académico): dark robe, cape and leggings.
It is sung at night, almost in the dark, in city squares or streets. The most typical venues are the stair steps of the Santa Cruz Monastery and the Old Cathedral of Coimbra. It is also customary to organize serenades where songs are performed before the window of the woman to be courted.
The Coimbra fado is accompanied by either a Portuguese guitar or by a classical guitar; the tuning and sound coloring of the Portuguese guitar in Coimbra are quite different from that of Lisbon.
The most sung themes: student love, love for the city and bohemia, and the ironic and critical reference to the discipline and conservative nature of the professors and their courses. Noted singers of this style are Augusto Hilário, António Menano, and Edmundo Bettencourt.
In the 1950s, a new movement took the singers of Coimbra to adopt the ballad and folklore. They began interpreting lines of the great poets, both classical and contemporary, as a form of resistance to the Salazar dictatorship. In this movement names such as Adriano Correia de Oliveira and José Afonso (Zeca Afonso) had a leading role in the revolution taking place in popular Portuguese music.
Regarding the Portuguese guitar, Artur Paredes revolutionized the tuning and the accompaniment style to the Coimbra fado, adding his name to the most progressive and innovative singers. Artur Paredes was the father of Carlos Paredes, who followed and expanded on his work, making the Portuguese guitar an instrument known around the world.
Some of the most famous fados of Coimbra include: Fado Hilário, Saudades de Coimbra (“Do Choupal até à Lapa”), Balada da Despedida (“Coimbra tem mais encanto, na hora da despedida”, the first verses are more recognizable than the song title), O meu menino é d’oiro, and Samaritana. The "judge-singer" Fernando Machado Soares is an imporatant reference, being the author of some of those famous fados.
Curiously, it is not a Coimbra fado but a song which is the most known title referring to this city: Coimbra é uma lição, which had success with titles such as April in Portugal.