2 December, 2021       LISBON - MAX. Partly sunny and breezyº, MIN. 03º

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Folders  |  Tejo Bar and Mané do Cafè
Tejo Bar and Mané do Cafè
Juliette Dejardin
Tejo Bar and Mané do Cafè
In the Alfama, far from the hustle and bustle of the city and close to the Santo Estevão church by the Santa Apolónia station, this ‘bar’ is really worth a visit. 
You cannot arrive here by accident, without the address or the help of a regular the place is practically impossible to find. To avoid disturbing the neighbourhood, the door is usually locked, and when you knock, the owner himself Mané do Café will let you in, unless he is playing guitar or reciting poetry. You enter into a tiny room, a sort of living room with posters, records, photos and drawings on the walls. Some guitars are available to customers who share them or play together, even if they do not know each other. You quickly pick-out the regulars: they know the choruses to all the songs. Here young and the not-so-young, Portuguese and foreigners, come with their poems, songs and sheet music in order to share an evening in a calm, warm and welcoming environment. You don’t know anyone? Don’t worry, your neighbour will probably start chatting to you (this tiny bar is very sought-after and the customers are tightly packed).
Between two poems or songs, people chat, make new friends, pick-up their card games or chess where they left off.  You want a drink, but Mané is playing the guitar? He’ll probably tell you to help yourself.
As you will have probably already gathered, here you are with friends. It’s like being at home, and for the owner this is very much as way of life!
Aged about fifty, born in Rio de Janeiro but raised in the Amazon, Jorge Carlos Amaral de Oliveira’s (Mané) passion for arts put an end to his geography studies. Expressing his indignation at the injustice experienced by the people from the Acre forest using various artistic mediums, he ended up being persecuted by the military police, and came to Portugal as an actor in 1990.
An artist, writer, journalist, teacher and cultural event organiser, João Maiara (another alias he uses) became Mané do Café in 1995, following advice from the painter Zé Cordeiro. Many of Mané’s paintings were actually executed in the café, he also drew a range of engravings on the Alfama in 2007 for the brand Toffa. His work features in the Alcochete municipal museum and the Lisbon ‘Camara Municipal’ has organised a permanent exhibition of this works on Praça da Figueira.
Also a writer, he has published several books, including the title "O portuguès ou o escravo da esperança", for which won the Edmundo Bettencourt prize.
In 2004, he wrote the following with Mucio Sá :
This book starts when the musician Mucio enters the Tejo Bar and puts forward the theory that Bach was in fact of Brazilian origin. Mané do Café took up the challenge and the story unfolds in the pages and chapters of his book. He even asked clients if they wanted to become a character in the book.. As the research on Bach’s true nationality took a long time, Mané received help from several customers who, when they came to visit the bar, even managed to write a sections that feature in the final publication.
The book unexpectedly won the FNAC prize in 2004.
Beco do Vigário, 1ª Alfama. Lisboa.
http://manedocafe.blogspot.com , www.myspace.com/tejobar
De 22h00 à 2h00

Foto fonte: www.myspace.com/tejobar

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