When walking through the streets of Lisboa last week i asked myself ‘what music or sound would you associate with one of the oldest cities in Europe and the world?
After spending one week in the portuguese capital it was a simple answer to my question: ‘Fado’ music and the sound of the Lisboa Trams.
‘Fado‘ is a music genre. Performances incorporating music and poetry widely practised in communities in Lisbon, Portugal. ‘Fado’ is the portuguese musical national identity. The history of ‘Fado‘ can be traced back to the early 1800s. I will write about this famous portuguese musical style in much more depth in a later post but for now lets focus on the sound of Lisboa.
The Lisbon trams are a regular site in Lisbon. They have been in operation since 1873. In the early years the trams used horse pulled carriages but in 1901 electrification came to the tram lines. They were known as Carro e létrico (carriage with electricity) but over time became known as Eléctrico! There are 5 different urban lines and 4 elevator services in the city operated by Carris. Tram 28 is probably the most popular for tourists as it takes you through Lisbon’s finest districts such as Baixa, Alfama, Graça and Estrela.
These quaint old trams lurch and screech around the narrow streets of Lisbon everyday. For me they define the Sound of Lisboa. During the trip i planned to capture a Field Recording of one of these old historic colourful means of transport. After a few days in the city i decided on the location and tram where i would capture my recording.
The Elevador da Bica is a funicular in Lisbon. It is situated near the ‘Rua da Boavista’ and forms the connection between Calçada do Combro/Rua do Loreto and the Rua de S. Paulo. The funicular climbs and declines 245 metres on a regular basis. It opened to the public in November 1892 and In 2002 it was designated a National monument. This was the tram i decided to record in Lisboa.
I captured not only the sound of the famous Lisbon eléctrico but snippets of everyday portuguese life from my left and right. To ride the eléctrico and hear the sound of screeching wheels, ringing of the bell and the bumpiness of the tram operated by the lone driver traveling down the 245 metre slope put on your headphones and press the play button below:
Happy listening, Enjoy!