In the Forest of Stories
Animal Medicine

Tunes for a Monday Morning

The Dance by Paula Rego

Today, three singers of Portuguese fado: a genre of songs expressing feelings of love and saudade (or longing)...often sad, and thus called "the Portuguese blues."

Above: "Gente Da Minha Terra (People of My Land)" by Mariza  (Marisa dos Reis Nunes), performed in 2013. Born in Portuguese Mozambique and raised in Lisbon, this exquisite singer is widely regarded as the leading fadista of the New Fado movement.

Below: A beautifully simple version of  "Melhor de Mim." It comes from Mariza's most recent album, Mundo (2015) -- which is terrific.

Agonia no Horto by Paula Rego

Above: "O Pastor," performed in 2010 by Teresa Salgueiro, from Lisbon.  Salgueiro first recorded this song with the Portuguese music ensemble Madredeus. (She was their lead singer until 2007.) If you're unfamiliar with the group, I highly recommend their compilation album Antologia, which is utterly gorgeous.

Below: "Meu Amor de Longe" by Raquel Tavares, another fine fadista from Lisbon. Fado songs tend to emphasize personal stories of love, longing, and other emotional themes -- but they're not all sad, as this song shows. On a dark winter day, it's good to be reminded of warmth, light, and the quiet strength of community.

The art today is by Paula Rego, who was born and raised in Portugal and now lives in London. Rego's work often incorporates imagery from Portuguese folklore, fairy tales, nursery rhymes, children's literature and women's history.  "We interpret the world through stories," she says. "Everybody makes, in their own way, sense of things; but if you have stories it helps."

(Rego is also a close friend of fairy tale scholar Marina Warner, whose project on refugee stories seems more vital than ever right now.)

The Encampment by Paula Rego

If you'd like a little more fado this morning, try this previous post from 2014. Or this one, from 2011.

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