Cheers to Bere Gratis – music to slurp a free beer to

pitcher-150069_1280Bere Gratis, or Free Beer, is a great name for a band because every time you put a poster up advertising your gigs – Free Beer at the Hordern Pavilion, Saturday at 9pm! – you’ll attract a lot of cheap rent-a-crowd potential drunks who otherwise might not be bothered. But it’s slightly old-fashioned because, really, who drinks beer nowadays? If you want to attract the young hip crowd you should probably call yourself Free Crack or Free Wacky Dust.

Bere Gratis came to my attention in the lead-up to the Eurovision contest this year. In the 12-song Romanian play-off final, their entry Despre Mine Si Ea (About Me and Her) was the best placed of those that were actually in Romanian. Unfortunately though, six songs in English got more votes, so the world never got to hear any Romanian at the Eurovision final. In truth, they are, dare I say it, too old and too ordinary looking really to fit in at Eurovision – but hey, Engelbert Humperdinck did represent England in 2012, so they shouldn’t give up hope yet. Maybe they’ll represent Romania in 2042..

They do make good music, though, if you like the pop-rock genre. Despre Mine Si Ea is one of many great tracks in the Romance languages that I have discovered since starting this blog. Here I have opted for a clip that gives the words, if you want to see what the band looks like click on the link in the previous paragraph.

Next up is one of their most popular tracks Stai pe acelaşi drum (Stay on the same road). Apparently this was awarded the best pop-rock song of 2010 in Romania. It’s imploring a lover not to leave. The chorus …

  • Stai pe acelaşi drum, iubeşte-mă
    Voi fi un om mai bun, priveşte-mă
    Stai pe acelaşi drum şi crede ce-ţi spun acum.

can be translated as…

  • Stay on the same road, love me
  • I’ll be a better man, look at me
  • Stay on the same road and believe what I tell you now

The lyrics are visible in small type on this video … though I only noticed them about the fifth time I watched this.

Pas in doi (Step Two) was also very popular. It reminds me a bit of Australian band Noiseworks and others of a similar genre, as does the one that follows it, In Brate (In Arms)

tea-157407_1280Anyway, that’s enough from me for now. I’m going to see this well-established band down at The Hordern Pavilion tonight, The Free Herbal Teas. They’re a real favourite with the 50+plus market. When you are no longer part of the hip scene you’ve gotta settle for rosehips instead. Cheers everyone!


Is B4 what you’re after?

Heard the one about the two top Angolan singers who went to Miami to film a clip of themselves singing in Portuguese and got Portuguese actress and model Rita Pereira to prance about looking pretty? No? Well here it is.

The song, É Melhor Não Duvidar (Literally It’s better not to doubt  but it’s probably better translated as You’d better not doubt) by B4 Los Compadres, is currently charting in Portugal. B4 are made up of Big Nelo and C4 Pedro, whom I have written about before in Sweet sounds from Angola, Portugal and all over the place.

The lyrics to the song can be found here. I will just translate the chorus.

É melhor não duvidar – You’d better not doubt
Vou-te fazer mudar – I am going to make you change
Uma chance me dá – Give me a chance
Comigo tu vais ficar – You will stay with me

I find it odd that Lusophone singers from Africa seem to get more recognition in Portugal than Brazil.


A musical journey to Barioloche with Miranda!

I’ve been scouting the South American music charts, looking for talent. At No.12 – and rising – in the Argentinian singles is Fantasmas by a popular local band, Miranda! It was filmed in the very scenic Argentinian alpine resort of Barioloche (full name San Carlos de Barioloche). It’s catchy in a Mika-ish kind of way, and I think it’s taking the piss out of something but I don’t know what – there are ghosts (fantasmas) in the house but what can they be? And did the lead singer really think he was fashionable wearing a jersey that blended in so perfectly with the monstrosity of an alpine mansion behind him, or is that part of the horror too? You decide.

The song is taken from their new album Safari, and the lyrics, should you want them, can be found here.

Miranda! are probably best known for the song Perfecta, which was a hit in parts of Latin America in 2007. It’s had more than 17 million views on YouTube.

We’ll finish off with one of the singles from their Magistral album released in 2011. I think this is better than the above two songs.

The classy spam comes to me

email-297068_640Once upon a time spammers would try to sell me tacky stuff like Viagra or call me webmaster (which I quite liked) only to point out that my SEO (search engine optimisation) wasn’t up to scratch and that I should get in touch for advice blah blah blah or watch a 4-minute tutorial at their website blah blah blah. At other times I’d get reams of utter nonsense. Now, however, spammers are getting more creative and effusive – some of them can even string a sentence or two together. Check out their great reviews of my blog. My replies are in blue.

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Between my wit and my videos I was almost moved to teach you how to spell “stellar”. Apart from that I really loved what you had to say. Too cool!

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Don’t hold back! I’ll put four donate buttons on this site. You can be my best PayPal.

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Thank you! What a bullshitter you are! I’ve got no layout attributes at all. I wouldn’t know how to customize butter on toast, let alone anything technical.

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Narcotic Sound astound: sexy Brazilian female singer turns out to be Romanian man!

karaoke-160752_640Narcotic Sound & Christian D are a Romanian music outfit that for some reason sing a lot in Portuguese. They do it pretty well too – when I first heard this I thought this was a sultry, sexy Brazilian woman singing but it turns out to be Christian D (the D is short for Dumitrescu). *

They are basically a duo – Narcotic Sound is Marius Mirică, the composer/arranger/producer. They are better known for club/dance music but this is very “laidback and chill” with some smooth saxaphone. The title, Unidos Pela Musica, means “United by music“.

The musical journey might be a bit Brazilian with the references to samba etc but the videoclip voyage is very Romanian – the obligatory “babes” in the video meet up at Bucharest’s main railway station, Gara de Nord, and catch a train down to the seaside at Constanța, as many Romanians and East Europeans do at this time of the year.

Lyrics taken from with my quick translation into English

Unidos pela música – United by music
Na vida nos encontrera – Life will bring us together
Meu sentimento com você – My feeling with yours
Tudo vida é  – All life is
O sonido da música – The sound of music
No belos sonhos que me da – In the beautiful dreams it gives me
No mundo se encontrara – In the world you’ll find
Ritmo pra dançar – Rhythm to dance

Unidos pela música – United by music
Vem vem dançar, vem vem dançar – Come, come to dance
Unidos pela músïca – United by music
Dança samba, dança samba – Dance the samba

Here’s another song of theirs – Mamasita, probably their biggest hit – with more Portuguese lyrics in it. My visits to the hairdresser are never like this!

And here’s something in Romanian, Labirint de sentimente, just to prove they can speak it … The lyrics are here.

* If you think Bernardo must be stupid because he can’t tell a man’s voice from a woman’s, please remember that he suffers from tinnitus and that basically all singers sound like a chorus of cicadas.

Get this îngheţată thing licked

ice-161922_640Followers of this blog will know that Bernardo has declared that the most useful word to have in your Romanian repertoire is îngheţată. And as if to reinforce the message, three musicians – Yogi, Ruby and Shift – have teamed up to jump on Bernardo’s bandwagon to pay homage to îngheţată and it could be one of the silly hit songs of the summer. It was filmed in the popular Romanian summer holiday resort of Mamaia on the Black Sea. Check it out…

The lyrics to the song can be found here.

If you are still not sure what îngheţată is, read Vital words for survival in Romania (I know Bear Grylls has.) At least now you know how to pronounce it properly.

The I words are full of imperfections

information-39064_640Reading through the I section of an English dictionary is not exactly a barrel of laughs. There you are confronted with in-laws, incompatibility, interference, incontinence, impotence, insomnia, insanity, impoverished, incensed, inappropriate, inferno, illness, irritation and other issues. Are there any positives? Well, there is inspiration, idyllic, ice-cream, intelligence, inns and the Irish. 😀

So, are things any better in my five Romance languages?

  • SPANISH: Many of the I words in Spanish are similar to their English equivalents (impotencia, imprecisco, etc.) Probably the most important I word is ir (to go) – likewise in Portuguese – but that’s something that needs a whole blog post to itself. Here, we will go for something simple: una inocentada is a practical joke. Gastarle la inocentada a alguien is to play a trick on someone. This seems to implay that Spanish practical jokes have a certain innocence (inocencia) about them, which of course often isn’t the case.


  • PORTUGUESE: ignorantona is, as you might guess, an adjective meaning very ignorant or stupid, and there is a noun uma ignorantona, which means a stupid woman. But this is the thing – there is no male equivalent! What does this tell us? Is this an example of misogyny in language? Or is it a given that all men are stupid so you don’t need a word to single one out? But that’s by the by. The quirky vocabulary I wanted to point out was insossar, which means to prepare without salt or seasoning, to make tasteless. There’s many a chef who knows how to insossar. The adjective is insosso, meaning unsalted or dull. There is an expression in Brazilian Portuguese, comer insosso e beber salgado (literally, to eat dull and to drink salty), meaning to have a tough time, to endure hardship.
  • ROMANIAN: I’ve already told you what is by far the most important I word in Romanian…  îngheţată.This is a must have in your vocabulary. If you have forgotten what it means, read my post Vital words for survival in Romania. Here’s another one that would be good to have on your travels: ieftin (ieftină in the feminine form) means cheap or cheaply. a ieftini means to discount or reduce the price of, and a se ieftini means to become cheaper. Ieftinit or ieftinită means discounted or reduced.
  • no-smoking-154052_640FRENCH: If you go to France you might find that a lot of things are interdit or interdite, depending on whether they are masculine or feminine, which means they are banned. For example, entrée interdite means you are not allowed to have an entrée in the restaurant. No, no, that was a joke (une blague) – it means no entry or no admittance. Interdire means to ban. Il est interdit de fumer means smoking is not permitted. (Another way of saying this is défense de fumer) However, the reason why I am putting this word in the Quirky Vocab series is because of the expression être interdit or rester interdit, which mean to be dumbfounded.
  • ITALIAN: An important but non-quirky world that you should learn in Italian is imparare, which means to learn. Hence sto imparando is I am learning. But there are some quirky bits too. For example, così imparari! is that’ll teach you! And there is the proverb sbagliando s’impara which is the equivalent of practice makes perfect (sbagliare means to make a mistake, from which hopefully one learns something).

Click on the Quirky vocabulary tab near the top of the page to see the other posts in the quirky series.


Music for a Romantic weekend, Part 2, featuring Mariza’s new hit

What’s Bernardo’sMusicMonitor™ been monitoring in the Portuguese and Italian-speaking worlds? Well, there is a lovely new song out by Mariza that is perfect Sunday listening, you can join Italian singer Francesco Renga in having the most beautiful day in the world in Berlin, while his countryman Emis Killa has fun in Rio de Janeiro. Plus check out Brazil’s hottest star of the moment, Anitta, among others. Find out what all the Anglo radio stations are missing out on!


First up is a beautiful new ballad by Mariza, O Tempo Não Para (Time Never Stops), released to coincide with new a Best Of compilation. It’s one of just three songs  in Portuguese songs in Portugal’s top 20. As usual with Mariza, it’s beautifully poetic…

  • Eu sei – I know
  • Que a vida tem pressa – That life goes in a hurry 
  • Que tudo aconteça – That everything happens
  • Sem que a gente peça – Without people asking
  • Eu sei – I know
  • Eu sei – I know
  • Que o tempo não pára – That time never stops
  • O tempo é coisa rara – Time is a rare thing
  • E a gente só repara – And people only notice
  • Quando ele já passou – When it’s already passed
  • Não sei se andei depressa demais – I don’t know if I walked too fast
  • Mas sei, que algum sorriso eu perdi – But I know I missed some smiles
  • Vou pedir ao tempo que me dê mais tempo – I will ask time to give me more time
  • Para olhar para ti – To look at you
  • De agora em diante, não serei distante – From now on, I won’t be far
  • Eu vou estar aqui – I will be here

Also doing well in Portugal is Angolan-born Anselmo Ralph with Unica Mulher (Unique or The Only Woman). Of course, he is huge in Lusaphone countries such as Mozambique and his native Angola.

The other Portuguese language song on the chart, Não Te Quero Mais (I Don’t Want You Anymore) by David Antunes and Vanessa Silva, would appear to be a domestic argument but the best part of breaking up is making up…

IN BRAZILIAN PORTUGUESE There is no shortage of local acts on the Brazilian charts as listed by (which despite its name gives only the top 20). This is kind of cute … it’s got an unusual jaunty rhythm and as a bonus there are some knife-throwing scenes in a ruined house in a lush jungle… It’s Cobertor by Anitta and Projota. Cobertor means blanket, the song title coming from the lines Que saudade de você debaixo do meu cobertor (how I miss you under my blanket) You can read the rest of the lyrics to the song here.

Anitta is undoubtedly the hottest thing in Brazilian music at the moment. She burst onto the scene last year and has had a string of No. 1 hits, and even featured in an article in Forbes magazine, which commented on the beautiful and sexy resonance of the Portuguese language and asked if she was a global superstar in the making. But there has been controversy about whether she is doing a Michael Jackson and using skin lightening cream. Here is a live performance of Anitta’s Blá Blá Blá, which is still in the top 10.

Next, just for something different, here is a Portuguese version of Pink’s Just Give Me A Reason sung by Brazilian heartthrob Gusttavo LimaDiz Pra Mim = Tell Me.


Francesco Renga, who won the Sanremo Festival nine years ago, is back in the limelight with this lovely song Il mio giorno più bello nel mondo (My most beautiful day in the world), taken off his chart-topping new album Tempo Reale. This was filmed in Berlin.

Italian singers like to travel. Here’s popular young rapper Emis Killa going to Rio de Janeiro in his song Maracanã. Naturally it has a World Cup football flavour to it.

Last is a recent No.1 in Italy by another former Sanremo winner Marco CartaSplendida Ostinazione (Splendid Obstinacy).

Music for a Romantic weekend, Part 1

tower-36275_640See what’s trending on Bernardo’sMusicMonitor™ at the moment … hot, smooth sounds in Romance languages from all around the world.

In Part 1 we’ll look at up-and-coming talent in Spain, see French favourites Indochine team up with the Hanoi Symphony Orchestra to produce exciting oriental orchestral versions of a couple of classics, and see a ghostly Romanian “Bonnie Tyler soundalike” in a video clip beautifully filmed in what looks like a spooky magnificent but rundown mansion. Part 2 will come tomorrow (hopefully) and will focus on songs in Portuguese and Italian. Have a great weekend!


Dvicio are doing well in the Spanish charts with a song called Paraiso which, according to their brief biography in English on Wikipedia, gained fame when employees of McDonald’s in Spain performed a flashmob to it and it went viral on the internet. Might as well see what all the fuss was about…

However, I much prefer this one Justo Ahora, (Right Now). Ahora is now in Spanish and in Portuguese it’s agora.

If you want to listen to more of Dvicio, they were originally called Tiempo Límite.

There aren’t many Spanish language songs in Spain’s Top 20 as outlined by Enrique Iglesias is at No.1 with Bailando (Dancing), while on its way down at No. 20, having peaked at No.4, is No Amanece by David Bisbal.

Amanecer  as a noun means dawn or daybreak, and as verb it can mean: 1. to dawn or get light, and 2. to wake up.


Directia 5 are a well-established and very versatile band. Normally I prefer their rock repertoire, but this bluesy ballad got a lot of airplay when I was in Romania last year and grew on me. Two members usually share lead vocals, to good effect. This is called O fată ca ea (A girl like her).

This next song has a beautiful atmospheric film clip to it … ghostly Gothic complete with squawking crows, flickering candles and creaking floorboards. It’s by Delia (Matache is her surname), who studied piano and flute at the Conservatory of Music in Bucharest before going into the modern music business. While some of her stuff can be very contemporary dance/club beats, this is more of a ballad that sounds Bonnie Tyler-ish! The title comes from this line in the chorus: Sunt aici, doar pentru tine = I am here, just for you

By the way, in Romanian the opposite of aici (here) is acolo (there).


I can’t get enough of Indochine at the moment. I’ve already shown they can rock a full house at the Stade de France, but they are equally accomplished in an Opera House, in this case one in Hanoi, Vietnam. It’s not often you see western rock given an oriental orchestral twist, but this is superb.

Here is the same song – Tes yeux noirs (Your black eyes) – performed live at the Stade de France. The introductions at the beginning are for former band members who reunited for this performance. I don’t normally like saxophones much but here the sound is beautifully plaintive.

Finally, one more of Indochine, avec l’Orchestre Symphonique d’Hanoï.  This makes a scintillating finale…

Get futuristic in Portuguese

computer-23713_640In Who’s afraid of Portuguese verbs? The first steps to fluency, you saw how easy it was to learn the present tense in Portuguese. Well, the good news is that the future tense is even easier. Try to master it by this time tomorrow, OK? 😀

Remember, there are three sets of regular verbs in Portuguese

  1. those ending in ar, for example, falar, to speak
  2. those ending in er, for example, comer, to eat
  3. those ending in ir, for example, partir, to leave

Unlike the present tense, where you have to drop the ar, er and ir to get a stem, to which you add the present tense suffixes, in the future tense the suffixes are merely added to the infinitive. (But Portuguese being Portuguese will naturally throw in some exceptions.)


The good news is that there is one set of suffixes (or verb endings) for all three verb groups. They are -ei, -ás, -á, -emos, -ão

Falar conjugates thus:

  • eu falarei – I shall speak
  • tu falarás – you (singular, familiar) will speak
  • você/ele/ela falará – you (singular), he, she will speak
  • nós falaremos – we will speak
  • vocês/eles/elas falarão – you (plural), they will speak

Comer conjugates thus: comerei, comerás, comerá, comeremos, comerão 

Partir conjugates thus: partirei, partirás, partirá, partiremos, partirão 

Note that the first person singular ending -ei is pronounced like “eye” in English. Here is a pop-rock song by Jorge Ferreira, Eu Voltarei (I shall return), to give you an example. I think Ferreira comes from the Açores Islands, much of his music is very traditional and he has an accent to match.


There are three verbs in which the infinitive is not used as a stem for the future tense endings, and they have a z connection:

  • dizer (to say) – instead dir is used as a stem: direi, dirás, dirá, diremos, dirão
  • fazer (to do) – instead far is used: farei, farás, fará, faremos, farão
  • trazer (to bring) – instead trar is used: trarei, trarás, trará, traremos, trarão

As you can see, all that has happened here is that the ze bit in the middle of the infinitive was dropped, perhaps because over time the Portuguese became too lazy to enunciate it.