Sweet Sara Cristina, by Magí Camps | Entertainment | The USA Print

The change of era, by Josep Maria Ruiz Simon

A couple of decades ago I visited Lisbon for the first time. The Portuguese capital did not disappoint me, on the contrary, but I had no intention of going to listen to fados (from the Latin fatum, destiny, fate). I almost know by heart A Portuguese house, because it has a lively rhythm and happy lyrics, but not even Mariza, with her curved fado, got me excited.

Walking through old Lisbon after having dinner with some friends, we passed a simple tavern with a tiled wall. The tables were full of people and in the background a group of women were washing pots. At the door, a man who was trying to dress elegantly, badly shaved and with one hand in his waistcoat pocket, drew the attention of passersby by gesturing with his other hand, which held a perennial cigarette. From the street, I saw a woman come out from behind the counter and wipe her hands on her apron as she prepared to sing.

He sang happier fados than we had ever heard before, and he ended with ‘Cheira a Lisboa’

The man at the door addressed us in
French to invite us in. We have already
I had dinner, I told him, and he replied that both
gave, that we could have a drink. Us
he had heard Catalan spoken and, due to ignorance, he must have thought we were French. Inside the premises, later it was an older man who sang a sad fado as he couldn’t, while a Japanese couple nodded off, overcome by sleep.

The local star appeared late. She was the daughter and granddaughter of the family that ran the tavern, the man at the door introduced her as Sara Cristina. She took off her apron, dried her hands, fixed her hair, and began to sing. They were happier songs than we had ever heard before, and she finished with Cheira to Lisbon (It smells like Lisbon), a piece that reconciled me with the world of fados. In the chorus, the man at the door sang the chorus, moving his hand from the cigarette and never taking the other out of his vest pocket. Sung the chorus, he turned to face the street.

Also Read  Authors with good press | Entertainment | The USA Print

When Sara Cristina finished, she offered her first CD, which she sold to many of those present duly dedicated. Internet search engines say almost nothing about this artist today, and there is no record on Spotify either. So sometimes I still retrieve her record and put it on. As I sing the chorus, “Cheria bem, cheira a Lisboa”, imitating the guy at the door of the tavern, I think that the promise of fado has a very sweet name: sara, the cake created in Barcelona to honor the French actress Sarah Bernhardt, and Cristina, the donut with eggs that godparents gave to their godchildren on Easter Monday before the monkeys became so sophisticated.