Last weekend at Café Lucia, Lucia and her family hosted their annual evening of the Portuguese traditional music, Fado. As it was the first time I had ever heard Fado, I had no idea what to expect. I am no part Portuguese, but by the end of the night I was second-guessing my knowledge of my own heritage I had enjoyed myself so much.
Every seat was filled in the dining room of the café. Couples and families both rich with familiarity of the music and food and those, like myself, experiencing it for the first time. As the evening began, the lead guitarist began to tell the dining room, filled with hungry people and full glasses of wine, that Fado was to be listened to in silence with respect for its sound. We all turned our heads and some chairs to face the music as it begun. It was beautiful and the hush over the crowd felt natural as they played.
I was seated with a Portuguese family who had come to get a taste of their culture. They kept me company as the band took breaks and told me about the history of the food and songs. Even before we had spoken, as I sat there letting the music envelop me, I thought, it is so amazing how art/music, something so beautiful, can take you places, to emotional memories both happy and sad. “Saudade, the very word for that feeling is what Fado is all about”, is what one of my table companions said.
The night went on with the music and the stories. “A guitar is like a woman, not everyone can play it, make it vibrate and come alive,” said the guitarist right before he started playing, then a woman, Tânia Oleiro, walked in singing with her incredible operatic voice.
The menu of traditional Portuguese recipes was delicious. Lucia and her family are bringing this amazing culture to Healdsburg and giving us all a chance to experience it in her restaurant, Café Lucia. Personally, I feel we should all hold onto and share a little bit of where we come from. I am very grateful I had the chance to fill a seat at Café Lucia on Fado night last weekend.