Monday, October 17, 2011

Deolinda - Neo-Fado (a misshapedmixtape)

If Aloe Blacc or Raphael Saadiq (two of my favorite contemporary artists) can be called neo-soul (which in actuality is not really a proper label for either), then I figure the Portuguese group Deolinda can be called neo-fado. I have been listening to Deolinda for the last couple of years after being put onto them after reading some dude's blog (where else?) and their music comes from such a soulful, heart-place (which is a BIG reason why I’ve been more and more attuned to world music in recent years… because it seems that so much American [esp. Caucasian] music comes from such a head-place – in short, it doesn’t make me FEEL much).

Anyway, neo-fado (a made-up genre name that I just coined and, coincidentally, the name of this mixtape) is in reference to the Portuguese style of music, fado, that can be traced back to at least the 1820s according to wikipedia. Oh, and the word “fado” also translates to English as meaning "destiny" or "fate." However, unlike traditional fado music (which is mournful and is traditionally performed in all-black attire), Deolinda have put their own twist on it... and the stunning vocals of Ana Bacalhau don't hurt either. This is the kind of music that you can listen to a lot and never grow tired of it.

A little backstory: The band is named after the fictional character of Deolinda, a 40-year-old spinster who lives with her cats and goldfish in a Lisbon apartment and watches through her window as the world goes by. This "character" is merrily unmarried, in love and out of love, and writes her own songs by peeking through the curtains of her window, drawing inspiration from the old gramophone records that once belonged to her grandmother and by the bizarre and strange life of her neighbors.

I am job-hunting today, so I’m cutting some corners on this write-up. The fact that I can’t speak Portuguese is a good excuse also. Though Portuguese has GOT TO be the most beautiful language in the world...

To read more about Deolinda, I highly recommend checking out this fantastic article that was posted on The Bluegrass Special website [note: Deolinda sounds nothing like bluegrass, so sorry/happy to disappoint depending on which side of the fence you're on in that regard... but hey, everybody likes Carolina Chocolate Drops, right?]

My biggest task in this week's post was to attempt an English translation of one of Deolinda’s songs (working from a rough English translation that a native Portuguese speaker posted on the internet), which seemed like a good thing to do, as their song “Parva Que Sou” relates to my state of being right now. Deolinda performed “Parva Que Sou” at the beginning of 2011, and though it has not been officially released as a single, it has been a sensation in Portugal and in Europe (see youtube video here).

One would imagine that “Parva Que Sou” will appear on their third album, which will face the daunting task of trying to equal their first two records: “Canção ao Lado” (2008) and “Dois Selos e Um Carimbo” (2010). I wonder if "Parva Que Sou" may in fact mark a shift in the Deolinda-aesthetic, as its message seems to come from a younger voice and not from the mouth of a 40-year-old spinster? Maybe it is the niece of Deolinda. I am not sure. Regardless, this mixtape features tracks from those first two albums, plus a live version of “Parva Que Sou” as a bonus track.

And here is my attempted translation “Parva Que Sou” ("What An Idiot I Am")… excuse any mistakes… like I said, I was working from an existing translation:

I belong to the “without a wage” generation
And I do not mind this being so
What an idiot I am

Because things are bad and will stay so
I’m lucky enough to even be an intern
What an idiot I am

And I keep thinking, what a stupid world
Where to become a slave, one must first earn a degree

I am from the “homes given to us by our parents” generation
If I already have everything, why want anything more?
What an idiot I am

I keep putting off having a husband or children
And I still have to pay off the car
What an idiot I am

And I keep thinking, what a stupid world
Where to become a slave, one must first earn a degree

I am from the “why bother complaining” generation
There is always somebody worse off from me on TV
What an idiot I am

I am from the “can’t take anymore” generation
As this situation has gone on for too long
And I am not an idiot
As I keep thinking, what a stupid world
Where to become a slave, one must first earn a degree
Without further ado, here is the tracklist for Deolinda – “Neo-Fado (a misshapedmixtape)” [peep the download link in the “comments”]:

01 : Mal Por Mal
02 : Fado Toninho
03 : Não Sei Falar De Amor
04 : Contado Ninguém Acredita
05 : Eu Tenho Um Melro
06 : Lisboa Não É Cidade Perfeita
07 : Fado Castigo
08 : Ai Rapaz
09 : Canção Ao Lado
10 : Garçonete Da Casa De Fado
11 : Clandestino
12 : Se Uma Onda Invertesse A Marcha
13 : Um Contra O Outro
14 : Não Tenho Mais Razões
15 : Passou Por Mim E Sorriu
16 : Sem Noção
17 : A Problemática Colocação De Mastro
18 : Ignaras Vedetas
19 : Quando Janto Em Restaurantes
20 : Alvalade E As Portas De Benfica
21 : Canção Da Tal Guitarra
22 : Fado Notário
23 : Parva Que Sou (Live)

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