“O que interessa é sentir o fado. Porque o fado não se canta, acontece. O fado sente-se, não se compreende, nem se explica.” Amália Rodrigues
The history of “Fado” crystallized into a myth, of the community of recreational spaces between the bohemian aristocracy and the most disadvantaged bangs of Lisbon’s population, with the episode of the love affair between the Count of Vimioso and Maria Severa Onofriana, a harlot renowned for her singing skills, who became one of the great myths in the history of “Fado”, a reference point for the “Fado” community.
In successive image and sound reproductions, the interaction between the bohemian aristocrat and Maria Severa permeates many singing poems and even cinema, theater, and the visual arts, starting with the novel “A Severa de Júlio”. Dantas, was published in 1901 and transferred to the big screen in 1931, in what would be the first Portuguese sound film directed by Leitão de Barros.
Júlio Dantas’ novella tells the story of Maria Severa Onofriana, the prostitute with gypsy roots who is credited with being the first “fado” singer and “creating” “fado” as it is known today. However, Maria Severa didn’t invent Fado itself, just as she wasn’t the first to sing it. Before her, “Fado” was sung by faiais, ruffians with rough, raspy voices, using slang, who filled the taverns and taverns of the alleys of Bairro Alto, Mouraria, and Alfama in Lisbon. If it hadn’t been for Maria Severa Onofriana, “Fado” would never have come to be. It was she who picked up a guitar and began to sing and play “Fado” in her own way, giving it the shape and rhythm it has today. She was also the author and composer of many of the “fados” she sang, as well as defining the image of the “Fado singer” with the shawl around her waist or shoulders. Maria Severa Onofriana’s voice filled many evenings at neighbourhood gatherings, making her famous for her voice. Her notoriety extended far beyond the bars and taverns, and this is very much due to the era in which she lived and which she herself helped to characterize.
The Casa de Fados A Severa, inaugurated in 1955 by the couple Júlio and Maria José, is an active part of the history of Fado, being important for the promotion of traditional Portuguese culture, where some of the biggest names in Fado began and passed. Severa is the stage for many local artists as well as new talents, offering them the opportunity to share the best of what they do with an audience eager to discover and appreciate their music who, with their voice and soul, create an intimate atmosphere and share their passion for this art. In addition to the musical performances, A Severa offers music lovers a lively and inspiring meeting place. The space is decorated to create an inviting and authentic atmosphere with elements that pay homage to the great names in music and take us back to the history of Portuguese music. Severa is a true meeting point for lovers of Portuguese music in Lisbon. Engaging performances captivate the hearts and minds of music lovers. If you want to explore Portugal’s rich culture, be sure to visit this cultural treasure, where music becomes a universal language that unites people and moves the soul.
“Fado” houses like A Severa add value to the country’s tourist offer and thousands of people want to experience “Fado”.
Make your reservation at Casa de Fado a Severa and get to know more about Severa!