Fado in Coimbra
This fado is closely linked to the academic traditions of the University of Coimbra and is exclusively sung by men; both the singers and musicians wear the academic outfit (traje académico): dark robe, cape and leggings. It is sung at night, almost in the dark, in city squares or streets. The most typical venues are the stairsteps of the Santa Cruz Monastery and the Old Cathedral of Coimbra. It is also customary to organize serenades where songs are performed before the window of the woman to be courted.
The Coimbra fado is accompanied by either a portuguese guitar or by a classical guitar. The tuning and sound coloring of the Portuguese guitar in Coimbra are quite different from that of Lisbon. Regarding the Portuguese guitar, Artur Paredes revolutionized the tuning and the accompaniment style to the Coimbra fado, adding his name to the most progressive and innovative singers. Artur Paredes was the father of Carlos Paredes, who followed and expanded his work, making the portuguese guitar an instrument known around the world.
Some of the most famous fados of Coimbra include: Balada da Despedida (“Coimbra tem mais encanto, na hora da despedida” - the first phrases are often more recognizable than the song titles). At the end of the academic year the serenata is sung at the Se Velha square.