Fado Bicha: The Portuguese duo bringing fado music out of the closet

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This year, France celebrates Portuguese culture. Fado music is often held up as the essence of Lisbon, a mainstay in a rapidly changing capital city. In this special show from Portugal, Eve Jackson meets the duo who reinvented the music that reflects the country’s soul. Fado Bicha are Portugal’s unique anti-racist feminist musicians and they challenge traditional, conservative, ritualistic fado.

We also visited Lisbon’s famous fado houses in the Alfama neighborhood, one of the many draws for the city’s 4.5 million annual visitors.

Born in and around the brothels, alleys and tascas of the city’s poorest neighborhoods in the 19th century, fado later became associated with the fascist regime that dominated Portugal for almost half a century. We explore its complex history at Lisbon’s Fado Museum and discuss the enormous influence of Amália Rodrigues, the “Queen of Fado”, who first pushed the boundaries of the genre, helping to develop and define it into what it is today .

We also look at fado’s influence on other music stars like pop sensation Bárbara Bandeira, who recently recorded “Onde Vais” with the country’s leading Fadista, Carminho.

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