The majority of village Festas (local festivals) focus around a lot of very poor music, from local accordion players thrashing out the classics, to middle aged men singing ‘party hits’ with scantily clad girl backing singers doing a few basic Wigfield Saturday Night moves.
|The normal Festa entertainment on offer|
The Candal Festa of Music was billed as something quite different, with real music from Fado to a Portuguese Irish band (!). Set in the mountain-top xisto (pronounced shhisto) village of Candal - now home to just a few full time residents, but home to some of the best holiday homes you’ve ever seen, the setting could not have been more beautiful.
|Set into the hillside = lots of steps|
In true Portuguese style we missed the first act but climbed up the village (set into the hillside would be a better description) to watch a Coimbra guitarist playing some melancholy Fado music while we perched on the steps in the afternoon sun.
I was put off watching the next act by first having to sit through a piece of ‘performance art’ with two girls dressed the same, with their shoes off, sitting still to a metronome – me and performance art don’t seem to mix, “hide their shoes” I said to Peter as we left to get a couple of sangrias!
|The village courtyard|
The village courtyard with a natural stage shaded by the vines provided the next setting for the next group, a couple playing traditional and modern songs. She had a wonderful voice, the music was not turned up to 10+ through the amps (the traditional setting for the modern festa) and the atmosphere was genial and relaxed.
More sangria was drunk as we awaited the arrival of the Portuguese Irish band (!)…a group of Portuguese guys with a passion for Irish music – so we’re sitting in a village on top of a mountain in the balmy nigh time air listening to a fiddle and a bodhran drum – stranger things have happened.
I can highly recommend that next year anyone coming over to visit time their trip to attend this music festival…did I mention it was all free (except the sangria, but at 1.50 euros a glass I am not complaining).