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Fados that celebrate street life in old Lisbon

Portugal is a nostalgic nation. And many fados from the 19th century looked back to a simpler time, when street sellers, know as Pregões, sold everything from fish to bread. Here are two of our favorites - one fondly recalling how black braids became all the rage in Lisbon - and the other a love letter to a lemon seller.


The Fado of the Black Braids
How beautiful she was with her flirtatious air
'They called her the' black braided girl ',
Through Chiado she would walk all day,
Touting sprigs of violets.

And the high-society girls who passed by
Were sad to look at her hair,
When she looked at them, with shame, they pretended not to see
And bit by bit they all let their hair grow.

Days passed, and the young ladies of the Chiado
All wore braids adorned with violets,
Everyone liked their new hairstyle,
And so began the fad of the black braids.

Of the violet seller, I have lost hope,
She left memories, and departed one evening
The Chiado is left loaded with a thousand braids
But no one has black braids like hers.


Rosinha of the Lemons
When she passes, she smiles
So full of grace
There's always an air of levity
In her enchanting eyes
There she goes sweetly, each day more beautiful
And her calico dress
Always has a Sunday air

Passing lightly, cheerful and engaging
And smiling, to the whole street
Sowing illusions
When she passes
To sell lemons in the market
And they even call you, as a joke
Rosinha of the Lemons

When she passes
By my window
My eyes follow her
Until the end of the street
She walks hurriedly
Laughing for everything and for nothing
And sometimes she smiles at me

When she passes
Touting lemons
Alone with my buttons
In the frame of my window
I keep thinking that any
Day for fun
I'm going to buy lemons in the market
And then, marry her!


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