Jose Madomis needs no invitation to talk about Portugal’s Three Fs… Football, Fatima and Fado. So to celebrate Portugal‘s elevation to the UK Green list today’s Rainy Days and Songdays celebrates Portuguese Fado.
And its football, with A Selecao, Cristiano Ronaldo et al, in good nick to retain their European Championship crown this summer.
And its Little Shepherds and Our Lady and Fatima.
Not to forget Coimbra which Jose will NEVER do.
Coimbra (pronounced Queembra) is Jose’s hometown.
And it is the centre of everything that has ever happened in Portugal according to Jose.
And the Madomis Tours guide backs it up.
Queen Elizabeth (theirs not ours) is a saint, was a friend to the poor and devoted wife of King Denis, Portugal’s first king.
Jose proudly tells us that her earthly remains reside for eternity in Coimbra.
While Coimbra was where the students of one of the oldest universities in Europe were the driving force for the removal of President Salazar in the Seventies.
Portugal celebrates the overthrow of the dictator every April 25 with a public holiday, Freedom Day (see another ‘F’).
And it is our misfortune as Portugalophiles that we weren’t able to get out there to join in the celebrations.
Fado and the Revolucao
Fado, the mournful music born out of the Lisbon slums and Portugal’s seafaring communities, was at the heart of the Portuguese uprising in 1974 .
And its people celebrate that on Freedom Day.
The coup had two secret music signals.
And you have to remember here how important and political Eurovision was back then.
Cliff Richard from winning one year.
Back to Portugal though and the first trigger was Paulo de Carvalho’s E Depois do Adeus (And After Goodbye).
You’ll remember it as the country’s entry in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest.
And by the by whatever happened to that Swedish band who won that year?
The song was aired on Emissores Associados de Lisboa at 10.55pm on April 24 which alerted rebel captains and soldiers to begin the coup.
The second signal was the next day at 12.20am.
Take that Salazar
Radio Renascenca broadcast the banned Fado singer Zeca Afonso’s Grandola, Vila Morena (Grandola, Brown Town.
Reading the English translation of the song it makes sense.
It references a ‘Land of fraternity, Grandola, brown town, in each face theres equality it is the people who lead.’
And I can see why a dictator like Salazar might take exception.
And why Zeca, real name Jose, will almost certainly be high up on our Jose’s popularity list.
Born in Portugal’s Little Venice Aveido, he studied in Coimbra and even played football for local team Academica.
Apt then that this was the prompt to take over strategic points of power in the country.
Jose our Special One
Our Jose had no time for Salazar but a lot for Coimbra and is a great fan of the offshoot Coimbra Fado.
And we were, and are, great fans of Jose, the Special One, the best host we have had the pleasure to meet on our travels… and there have been many.
Tonight I will play the Fado CD Jose gave us on our last evening there in Portugal Centro.
It was our wedding anniversary night at that.
So I’m happy to dedicate this Rainy Days and Songdays Portuguese Fado to Jose… Muitas Felcidades meu amigo.