Clappings are done in silence here
For those who arrive at the Tejo Bar for the first time, amazement is inevitable. When watching the visitors of the bar rubbing their hands in a silent noise after the performance of an artist, the new guests get delighted. It is a kind of clapping done in a silent mood and whispered among music lovers who gather at the Bar, very close to each other, sometimes forming a ring or half-moon for the listeners. With sparkling eyes, the skin gleaming the brightness of the lamp delight in the sounds that occasionally flow through space.
In my first experience in the place, I almost triggered (as happened to all the debutantes that were there) a cascade of crackling and loud clapping. A dozen complacent smiles bathed in the twilight light stared at me as if to say, “Oh newbie, we understand your enthusiasm. We feel the same joy”. They immediately raised the gesture of rubbing their hands to show me how to clap at the Tejo Bar.
I smiled back, agreeing an understanding the flow. I made a joke in my thoughts. _ “They adopted this expression of gestural gratitude in order to not chase away the present spirit of the music in the place”. In fact, the Tejo Bar invites their visitors to avoid conventional clapping to minimize noises that spreads much easily at night so that it does not disturb neighbors.
While the artist’s last note hangs in the air, the instruments are silent, and our pores are permeated by the music that evolves between the dim light and the silence, and at the same time the rubbing of hands fills the silence. Almost imperceptible, but interesting.
Without detentions, the necessary elements for a jam session with voice, guitar, piano or Tres (Cuban) are composed. To exude something more striking from the house, the host artist takes the reins of animation with a meritorious guitar, bringing to light the nostalgia of Cabo Verde’s Morna. With a serene river, music floods the ears of the visitors.
Apparently, the performance of the artists does not have to follow a strict schedule (except for the dates when there are guests/ special events). In this bar, one can note that an artist from the audience can easily win the stage (Which stage? There is no stage in the Tejo Bar. Whoever gives or receives the music are on the same podium, in a kind of musical-artistic confabulation, exchange and intimacy) and promote ecstasy or catharsis either with your voice, or with another instrument.
Refuge / Peaceful shelter
In simplicity, the environment even matches the house of the grandparents (of our grandparents) where we can slide our hand over an old piece of furniture, revisit the photo album which usually has 50% of the contents in black and white, a portrait on the wall, a lamp of dying light that disputes the attention with the “chorinho” of the guitar, the small guitar, or the voice of John Luz (Cape Verdean musician, living in Portugal).
Protected from evolution and the accelerated advances of showbiz, streaming and digital entertainment and its rules, Tejo Bar still preserves in its meager square meters the purity of live music, played with a certain spontaneity and mastery. In a symmetrical relationship between audience and artist – the two come together in a bubble of musical pleasure. And it is easy to conclude that we are not only in the context of live music (live in English), but in the presence of live music.
A source of sweet music
To those fortunate people that can locate Tejo Bar in Beco do Vigário, Alfama – Lisbon – the name “beco” (alley) lives up to its name as it winds its way there – will notice the place offers a haven to cool your soul with good music. I was fortunate to have hitchhiked there and an invitation from a friend, whose talent and desire to be a singer seethe in her in the same proportion. And she saw in the Tejo Bar a “little window” or a small “megaphone” that makes her voice ring out in the four corners of the world.
And she is right to bet on a small bar which is the place where many international stars usually orbit, i.e., Madona has already been there, Dino de Santiago also, Spanish, French, John Luz, Creoles, Mexicans, Lucibela, Sara Alhinho and so many others has been there… as I mentioned above: The world fits in the Tejo Bar. The diversity of tourists that visited this place are seduced by the sonorities of the environment of the grandparents’ house, by the good wine and prose by ear.
I doubt if from the Bar you can see the Tejo (river) further below, in its last sprint to embrace the sea and be swallowed by it. I am certain, however, that Tejo (Bar) is far from being reached by an eventual marginalization of the river (Tejo). On a normal night of music, the most attuned ears are breathed by soft and melodic flashes from the nascent Tejo Bar.
Directions of Tejo Bar:
Address: 1100 451, Beco do Vigário 1A, Lisbon
Phone: +351 969 756 148
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