Tag: North

Total 2 Posts
Loosely anywhere north of Lisbon; more strictly the far north of Portugal from the Douro to Minho river valleys.

Desgarrada - lyrical dueling rap of northern Portugal

Augusto Canário & Naty Vieira "As Cuecas da Naty e do Canário"

1. Augusto Canário & Naty Vieira "As Cuecas da Naty e do Canário" (Naty and Canário's underwear)

Hypnotic weird folk music from the farming areas in the far North of Portugal. Two voices - often male and female, improvise insults, boasts and observational comedy. They are accompanied by accordions - one, two or sometimes a massed accordion band, as here.

The same tune repeats endlessly, and provides a background to the words, which follow a tight poetic structure. Very funny if you are Portuguese, but hard to translate as it is full of double entendres (duplos sentidos in Portuguese), slang and shared cultural references.

Note the 3.7 million views. This style is popular in Portugal, and is performed especially at country fairs and festivals. The Minho river valley is the heartland of Desgarrada today, but it is found throughout the North and in Madeira.

It is also performed around the world in ex-patriate, emigrant Portuguese associations and clubs, perhaps as a reminder of home. The accordion backing means it doesn't depend on amplification, so it can be performed indoors or outside.

Mike da Gaita and Naty Vieira "Desgarrada com Naty"

2. Mike da Gaita and Naty Vieira "Desgarrada com Naty" (Song duel with Naty)

Live Desgarrada can go on for a considerable time, as the singers vie with each other and think of new things to say. The recorded version is usually truncated in comparision.

The metrical structure of Desgarrada helps the singers improvise. Each singer sticks throughout to their own pattern, which can

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Rui Veloso and Isabel Silvestre on two kinds of literacy

Isabel Silvestre "A gente não lê"

Isabel Silvestre "A gente não lê" (The people can't read)

Released in 1998 in a folk fusion style, this cover version brings extra force and meaning to a wonderful song - which was originally recorded 16 years earlier in a rock/blues guitar style.

What it's about: The title "A gente não lê" uses an ambiguous construction in Portuguese. It can mean "The people don't read", "We don't read" or even "I can't read". The song is about rural illiteracy, but also the loneliness of old people in the rapidly depopulating villages of Portugal. It is the older generation now who can't read, and the young people who are leaving.

Both the music composer Rui Velosi and the singer Isabel Silvestre were brought up in the sort of place the song deals with - in the mountains between Coimbra and Porto in North-Central Portugal. The writer of the words, poet and lyricist Carlos Tê, comes from Porto itself.

Here's the Portuguese text if you want to follow along. Both singers are clear, but Rui Velosi in the version further down the page drops fewer syllables (the famous Portuguese "vowel reduction") than Isabel.

Ai Senhor das Furnas
Que escuro vai dentro de nós,
Rezar o terço ao fim da tarde,
Só pr'a espantar a solidão,
E rogar a Deus que nos guarde,
Confiar-lhe o destino na mão.

Oh Lord of the Caves,
How dark it is inside us,
Praying with the rosary at the end of the day,
Just to chase away the loneliness,
And asking

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