Part of the Portuguese soul is woven by singers of fado which is a genre as specific as this country. When I listen to it, I can sense a full spectrum of emotions: from longing to pure love, from melancholy to joy, all being a reflection of the local reality. Fado's history started in the XIXth century. One of the most important voices of the new wave of this music is definitely Cuca Roseta, who was invited to perform at Alma do Vinho festival in Alenquer. We love Portugal and it's festivals, we love wine and good music, so there was no question – we couldn't miss such an occasion.
Alenquer is a relatively small place, and we arrived there early enough to explore it, before the event could blossom fully.
The city's vibe is very specific, and it made me feel like I am in another country, somewhere in the Balkans (Prizren was around my mind), but that's probably also because the surroundings. Alenquer grew in a valley carved by a small river tamed by rocks shaping its banks. It has two faces: the historical one, and the industrial. The former is the one which was calling me from the beginning, the latter now being a ghost of its former self (the abandoned factory in the very center – it's banner).
It was a blast to just watch my fellow sloth's face lighting up when we were wandering around narrow streets of the old town. Behind each corner there hides a small discovery – a charming detail of traditional architecture, a cityscape, pieces of streetart, contrasts between falling apart structures and those fully renovated. Sadness, happiness; past, present and a lot of potential for the future. Saudade. Fado for the eyes.
It was the first time Alma do Vinho was held. The festival was born out of city's decision to promote Western region's most precious things: wine and culture. It lasted 4 days, we have chosen 'the fado one' as a thing for us.
Lovers of the ancient drink of gods could enjoy a wide range of it. Buying one glass was giving an access to free samples from all the invited producers. Our friends from Quinta do Gradil were present, of course, but this time our hosts were from Quinta de S. Sebastião. Their marketing slogan, the rebirth of the land, describes for me quite accurately the whole event. Next to the old, well established players, visitors could find brand new tastes, like the wine produced by reemerging Quinta de Vale Mourisco.
The other side of the festival was, so typically for Portugal, delivering delicious food; from booths on the grounds to the restaurant in an old factory – everybody could find something to satisfy the hunger.
The above was glued together with...
Notes floating in the air ranged in a unique manner. From folk, farmers' music strongly connected to the wine harvests, through flamenco delivered by special guests, to the main star of the day of our choosing, meaning Cuca Roseta.
The folk combination of singing, dancing and traditional clothing from Parque Urbano da Romeira was a joy to behold, and an excellent Portuguese starter giving rhythm to drinking and dining.
The trianeando Flamenco Y Sevillanas de Joaquín Moreno was for me a surprising addition to the day's repertoire. It's specific melody warmed up the evening, which had gotten very cold after a warm, sunny afternoon. But even the artistry of musicians didn't keep us outside (as Czechopolish we might be as much we are already used to more welcoming weather). We came back in front of the stage only for the finale.
The fado was a closure I expected. Cuca Roseta delivered a performance that build a bridge between classical and new, between Portugal and the rest of the world. Lyrics of her songs, sang in such a style were very moving. Sadly, we didn't understand them, because for us the Portuguese language, beyond ordering a coffee or buying bus tickets, is still a puzzle waiting to be solved. The show wouldn't be the same if not the fantastic musicians. Cuca Roseta concert fed my heart and soul better than anything else during the Alma do Vinho.
With fado in the ears we took the ride back to our little home in home in Consolação. Our dreams that night were especially... Romantic!