Portuguese Dance & Music 101

Revolution, ritual, festival, and individual have all been incited by the magic of music. It is meant to evoke memory, emotion, and body movement. Portugal is notorious for Fado music. Fado is not as sad, as people think. Fado is spiritual. A genre of music exclusive of dance, in the normal sense, because Fado dances in the soul. Music and dance in Portugal have their own lineage and instruments:
the bagpipe (Gaita de fole), the accordion (acordeão) and guitars (cavaquinho and 12 string Portuguese), to name a few. Portuguese history vaguely recognizes its' Gaelic origins.In northern regions of the country you can hear bagpipes and see related styles of Gaelic dance. A traditional Portuguese dance is 'Fandango.' This music and dance are not credited as having Celtic roots, but originally was played in the same 6/8 tempo. Fandango includes stationary arms, rapid leg movement and a lineup of steppers.
Since the medieval era, variations of Fandango spread through villages. 'Fandago do Varapau' includes long sticks and men fighting off make believe vermin. Portuguese music and dance don't stop getting jiggy with ancient Irish roots. Originating hundreds of years earlier, Fandago is likely the basis for the C-Walk in America. (Shout out to Lisbon's sister city San Francisco.)
Minho, Portugal is home to 'Vira do Minho.' A waltz inspired square dance that has its own style of mountain music. It sounds like yodeling with accordions and a whining child singing in the background. People enjoy the sound, meanwhile dancing joyfully with hands in the air and big dresses that will give you heat stroke. In the former colony of Goa, on the central coast of India, a dance known as Malhão is still performed by Goan youth. Here in Portugal it is known as 'Corrindinho,' the running dance. Believe it or not, it translates to, "I am outta here because I do not want to sleep with you!" Who wants to run around dancing? We do and we like it. It looks neat at least. Preformed at folk fairs, couples dress in old clothes and spin at lightning speed. In Goa, they have a variation- dancing with a fiery lamp on your head. Fun to watch and after a couple drinks, try it for yourself. Farther east, the Hawaiian islands, owe their beloved 'ukuele, or 'machête' to the Portuguese who left it there in the mid 1800's. Because of the machête, Hawaiians developed another form of Hula known as the 'auana to incorporate this musical instrument.
Recent dance and music in Portugal have been adopted from its youngest generation and melting pot of cultures. New musical genres are seen as a cultural movement, rather than mere dance. The newest and worst is the 'Pimba Movement.' Pimba translates to 'bad music' and sounds like a horrible carnival in Mexico. Xylophones and tacky mariachis included. One particular man is noted for starting the Pimba Movement, Emanuel. Thank god for the islands! After the Portuguese war and its revolution in 1974, colonies separated from Portuguese rule and people were split between country and family. Socialism was the norm and music followed. On the Cape Verdean islands of Portugal the music of Funaná resonates like the rhythm of the surrounding ocean. Like Morna, the national music of Cape Verde; Funaná is creole in nature, but exact nativity are unknown. Normally, Funaná is played with basic instruments like the ferrinho (a small circular washboard, made out of wood.) Closely linked to Funaná is Kizomba. A genre of music and dance from Angola and other former colonies of Portugal - the Kizomba is a mix of the Tango and Samba.
A smooth and sensual dance with hip gyrations and extremely close contact.
Kizomba has been gaining momentum in dance competitions and African music clubs around Lisbon.
If you want to dance like a local find your way to MUSSULO on Tuesday-Saturday until 6am. No sneakers inside this club, so dress yo-self! Rua Sousa Martins 5-D, one block south of Picoas metro station, east of Parque Eduardo VII. Corresponding with regional bullfighting schedules; small towns and provinces outside of Lisbon, hold countless folk festivals during summer months. Check regional websites for monthly agendas http://cultura.sapo.pt/ August 1st-8th is the 26th annual World Folklore Festival 'oMundoaDançar' in Monção.


The best things in Life are almost free

Assimilating can be the hardest part of travel.
The easiest is growing accustomed to new food. Face it, you have to eat. Much easier when the food is cheaper and tastes delicious. Travelling is the perfect outlet if you love food. If you love to eat and on a budget, you need to know the local delights. Lisbon was recently surveyed as the 72nd most expensive city in the world. Compared to other capital cities in Western Europe, food here is cheap. How yummy can cheap food be? Lisbon is home to more than a handful of mouthwatering grub spots. Whether its breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you can find an almost free, or free spot to munch. Lisboetas eat endlessly. Walking these hills will make anyone ravenous.
Two or three small meals during the day and a moderately portioned dinner.
An average daily allowance for a local would be something like this: Breakfast- Coffee or Tea and a pastry of sort, Lunch- Bread with chorizo, Snack- Tremoços (individual yellow beans, eaten like Japanese edamame), Dinner- Bacalhau with potatoes and wine. This plethora of food would bring you to a grand sum of around 5 euros per day. It's mind boggling to see such a low price, compared to spending 10 euros a plate at a restaurant. One of my favorite cheap and tasty local spots is Frutalmeidas. A fruit and salad-fusion cafe. Sounds crazy. Well, now with two locations in Lisbon, this once ma and pa joint has expanded to include their grandsons and the food is G double O, D, GOOD. The speciality of Frutalmeidas is the Portuguese delicacy known as 'pasteis de massa tenra.' Known to non-Portuguese as the satisfying; beefpattie, or empanada. In Portugal it is refined and eloquently rendered. Watch out McDonalds this health conscious cafe has its own version of the 1€ menu. Choose from a variety of 6 different cold and fresh juices. Ranging from 1,20 to 1,50 a glass.
Soups, pastries (sweet, meat or veggie) and salads average 1.10, 1.20, & 3.00€ respectively. The most expensive thing on their menu is dessert. At Frutalmeidas they make homemade strawberry 'short'cake, 3.20€ for a monster slice. You can find Frutalemeidas #2 behind the Sheraton near the Picoes metro station, or it's 1st and chic locale on Avenida de Roma º45.
Another cheap spot is Cafeteria Italiana, on Rua Dona Filipa de Vilhena, use the Saldanha red line metro exit and cross the garden 'Arco do Cego'. At this tiny cafe, beer is .50cents and a Rissol de Leitão (pig in a blanket) is 1€. If you don't think those eats are cheap enough, how about free food? Yes, free. Food sovereignty is the idea behind Jantar Popular. Issues of sustainable eateries and social awareness at this dinner, make it a concept ahead of its time. A vegan establishment, run by volunteers.
Jantar Popular (Popular Dinner) offers guests the opportunity to cook, clean, or serve for their dinner or just eat and take part in the banter for 3€. No worries here if you forgot your wallet. Every Thursday of the week, (except in August) bring your culinary skills, your love for veggies, and some political rhetoric to this new Lisbon legend. Check the GAIA.org website for the Jantares Populares weekly location. Almost everyone falls in love with Lisbon. If it is food you like, this is surely the place to have a fork handy. Don't be shy, eat like a local, cheap. The old saying says, the best things in life are free. The cynic's say, nothing is ever free.
In Lisbon, almost everything is always almost free. The good stuff, anyways. By JT


Eat a Fish, kill a Pigeon

With names like Tit's and Cock's, who doesnt love birds? Within the urban sprawl of Lisbon, you will probably see one type. The pigeon. The most well known pigeon is the Dodo bird. Unlike rats, we walk by them unconsciously. But, in mid-May my friends and I were enjoying 'almoço' and a few brews, only to be surrounded by a gang of our fellow city dwellers. It was then we decided to organize against them/use our wi-fi and find out exactly where these mutant spawn come from. Apparently, they grow to maturity at a record pace and one female pigeon can birth 30 eggs a year. Ironically however, only until they are the first to sample our lunch, foul on our head, our car, or dry clean only silk, do we want them dead!
If making things become extinct was a game amongst species on this planet, humans would be winning. We have successfully documented the extinction and endangerment of over 10% of the entire bird taxa. Of the 10,000 species of birds, astoundingly, there are 300 different types of pigeons. 15 are extinct. The past few weeks I have documented the number of dead pigeons on my way to work, an average 3 a day. That's 15 a week.
Why are the roosting rats dying in Lisbon?
Scientifically speaking, fish and birds have always had a high correlation of simultaneous death. In Lisboa for the entire month of June we celebrated Festa de Lisboa. Consuming 100 tons of sardines. Ironically for the pigeons, they probably were sacrificed to this scientific method, by choking on left over fish bones, or poisoned by old alcohol. Not to say us humans are killing them, but most of us have probably wanted at least one dead, sometime in our lives. In America the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon, which was the most abundant bird on the planet, happened in the early 1900's. The last one lived a long and happy life in captivity, her name was Martha. The over abundance of the urban Rock Pigeon should be seen as the pigeons call to arms. In-sighting visions of Alfred Hitchcock movies, not to mention pandemic salmonella poisonings and avian flu. Such issues spell the extinction of humanity and should not be taken lightly. So the next time you see a pigeon, remember Martha & the Dodo. We have killed them off before and if they continue to foul our dry cleaning or corner us at cafés, we will do it again. How much does W.H.T.T. love birds? Follow us on our favorite-Twitter, @wehateallbirds.