Salvador Sobral tipped to do wonders for Portugal at Eurovision 2017

Portugal’s entry in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest is Amar Pelos Dois (Love For Two) by Salvador Sobral, and according to the various betting websites that I have seen, it is regarded as a strong contender and possible winner – some rank it second behind the Italian entry.

The song is entirely in Portuguese (applause, applause) and was written by Salvador’s sister, Luisa. It is a charmingly old-fashioned song, and sounds very Brazilian in a musical sense (though his accent is definitely not Brazilian).

It is a sad song (a man pining for his lover to come back) – and there is a sad real-life story about Salvador that has emerged in recent days – he is in very poor health and in urgent need of a heart donor (details here). For this reason, his sister sang the song at the early rehearsals. Salvador is saving his strength for the finals.

The lyrics of the song have been translated into more than 15 languages here, among them my four other Romances – French, Italian, Spanish and Romanian – as well as English. You can more about Salvador, the song, and some critical reactions to it, here. The following clip will also fill you in.

Good luck to him. The song has grown on me, and I really hope Portugal gets to win the competition for the first time in its history. I fancy going to Eurovision 2018 in Lisbon!

It’s the weekend: have some Drinkee with Sofi Tukker and go tonto

Sofi Tukker are a New York-based musical duo who have an affinity with the Portuguese language. And it hasn’t prevented them from gaining international recognition – including a Grammy Award nomination this year for their song Drinkee, which has Portuguese lyrics and was also used to great effect on an advert for Apple watch.

Here is the song and to help you follow it, the lyrics.

Com Deus me deito (With God I lie down)
Com Deus me levanto (With God I get up)
Comigo eu calo  (With me I go silent)
Comigo eu canto  (I sing to myself)
Eu bato um papo  (I have a chat)
Eu bato no ponto  (I clock in*)
Eu tomo um drinque  (I have a drink)
Eu fico tonto  (I get dizzy)

The lyrics are taken from the poem Relógio by Chacal, (born 1951, real name Ricardo de Carvalho Duarte). Relógio means a watch, clock or timepiece and there is some very useful contemporary vocabulary in it.

calar (calar-se in the reflexive) means to go quiet or to silence. A most useful derivative from it is cala a boca, which means shut up!

papo is a colloquial word that is very much in vogue thanks to chat sites on the internet. bater um papo is to have a chat, and bate-papo is the noun form of chat (more prevalent in Brazilian Portuguese than that of Portugal). Ele é um bom papo means he is a good talker or a gasbag. Bater is to beat, strike or hit.

* Bater no ponto is hard to translate exactly. I’ve also come across bater o ponto or simply bater ponto, meaning to clock in, to go full circle. Some translation apps say to hit the spot.

Tonto is one of my favourite adjectives in Portuguese. It can mean dizzy, lightheaded (especially after a few drinques) silly or stupid.

Here is another song by Sofi Tukker using Portuguese lyrics from a Chacal poem, the lyrics to which can be found here.

 

 

Happy weekend! Take a liking to Like Us

It’s the weekend! Who can’t be happy about that? To perk you up, listen to Portuguese band Like Us‘s homage to the Fim De Semana. and be sure to play it loud. (To help you understand this song a bit, here are the Portuguese days of the week).

Who are Like Us?

Well, they are a Portuguese boy band that has been cobbled together for some reason, but their songs have catchy thumping choruses – surprisingly, as Portuguese music is usually pretty restrained. Apparently their names are João, Daniel, David e Francisco, but don’t ask me which is which. The next video is a rather clumsily cobbled medley of their better known songs (some in English). I’ve included it so you can get a feel for them and see what they look like. But for the rest of the post I will use videos that show the lyrics or letras.

Headbanging in the subjunctive

The next song is full of verbs in subjective mood, including the title Se Tu Quiseres. In English the equivalent would be “if you want” or “if you like“, but in Portuguese it’s the conjuntivo/subjuntivo futuro – “if you will like“, because on a literal time scale the enjoyment is not happening at the moment, it is still to come.

Blown away at a party

Boy goes to  party, sees someone beautiful dancing, goes crazy all of a sudden and wants to abscond with them Longe (literally “long“, but here more like “far way“).

Boy band bonanza bonus track!!!!!

I know that by now you just can’t get enough of Portuguese boy bands, so just to knock your socks off here are Cláudio, Tiago, Valter, Daniel e James – otherwise known as No Stress. They were “a nova boy band portuguesa por quem todos esperavam” (the new Portuguese boy band that we have all been waiting for), remember? But now they are the superseded new boy band, I guess.

So, there you go. Where are all the girl groups?

Tony Carreira to tour Australia

One advantage of sitting around in the coffee shops and restaurants in Sydney’s “Little Portugal” is that you soon learn which Portuguese singers are coming to perform in Australia.

Due next April is a huge name in contemporary (well, sort of) Portuguese pop, Tony Carreira. He will be performing at the Melbourne Pavilion on Saturday April 23, 2016, and at the Clancy Auditorium at the University of NSW in Sydney the following afternoon (April 24).

My first introduction to Portuguese pop music was via a bargain bin of CDs at some hypermarket on my first visit to Portugal as an adult some seven years ago. The were called “Disco do ano” (discs of the year) although sometimes the year was not specified. They seemed to consist of the same stable of artists trotting out the same simple cheap and cheerful cheesy pop songs – tolerable but certainly not cutting-edge stuff. Still, you have got to start somewhere.

One song that I did like on them was Tony Carreira’s Quem Era Eu Sem Ti (Who was I without you), which came out in 2002. Here, though, is a live version recorded in Lisbon in 2010.

About seven years ago my Portuguese was pretty basic but I was pleased to be able to listen to this song and understand some of the lyrics … and it helped me remember two of the four weather seasons…

CHORUS Eu sem ti/Quem era eu sem ti?/Um inverno sem sinais de primavera/Eu era! (I without you/Who was I without you?/A winter without signs of spring/I was!)

The full lyrics  can be found here, and below is the studio version.

I have written about Tony before: not long ago he recorded an album of duets in both Portuguese and French, you can read about it here.

So, would you go to a Tony Carreira concert? Let’s have a look at two other songs which have made it onto his greatest hits compilations, starting with A Vida Que Eu Escolhi (The Life I Chose).

The next one will help you remember a common subjunctive, seja, from the verb ser (to be). Mesmo Que Seja Mentira (Even if it’s a lie).

Where to buy the tickets, which have just gone on sale, is a little bit complicated as it involves the Portuguese community network around the country. Your best bet is to email neves1940@hotmail.com, but if you are in Sydney they can be bought at Fernandes Patisserie at 420 New Canterbury Road in Dulwich Hill, tel (02) 9668 2114. Adult tickets are from $69 while children up to 18 are $30. If you buy them at Fernandes at least you can sample their delicious pasteis e pudins (see my previous posts) while you are there.

Sydney has had a taste of Portuguese music recently. Just last month acclaimed fado singer Ana Moura was in town. Here’s a short clip of her Sydney performance at the Enmore Theatre.

 

 

Brazilian celebrations are in order

Dieticians say we should eat more fruit

Dieticians say we should eat more fruit

Today, September 7, is Independence Day in Brazil. So I thought I should really do something with a Brazilian theme.

I did.

I wore a caipirinha-flavoured condom haha.

It was a little bit uncomfortable at work, and once or twice when I went to the bathroom I almost forgot I was wearing it, which could have been disastrous, but …. oh,, all right, let’s not get carried away with this theme, let’s lift the tone…

The other day this song popped in my Facebook feed courtesy of singer Marisa Monte. It was used as the theme song from a very popular TV show from a decade ago, Mulheres Apaixonadas (Women in Love). I hadn’t heard it for ages and had forgotten how good it was. Marisa recorded it with some friends using the band name Tribalistas. It was a massive hit. So forget the condom, this is my Brazilian celebration.

The complete Tribalistas album (a one-off) is here…

Brazilian fair in Sydney

Incidentally, if you are in Sydney on Sunday, September 20, the annual Brazilian “Ritmo” Festival will be on in Darlling Harbour. It’s presented by the Brazilian Community Council of Australia. It’s usually a lot of fun, with stage shows and Brazilian foods in good supply. Check out the pics and info on the BRACCA website.

Bracca day

Balkan Club meets Brazil as Romanian pop stars Andra and Naguale go to Rio de Janeiro

The Lisbon-Bucharest divide

The Lisbon-Bucharest divide

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking that there is not much connection between the Romanian and Portuguese languages. For one thing, Bucharest and Lisbon are more than 3800 kilometres apart, and if you were to make that road journey (pictured), you would hear many different languages along the route. I have been fortunate enough to have done summer language courses in both countries – in Portugal in 2011 and Romania in 2013. Of the two, the latter language was definitely new to me, so I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. Whenever I was asked a question by my Romanian teacher, if I couldn’t say a word in Romanian, I would say it in Portuguese (in my peculiar gringo Porto-Romanian accent), and often the answer would prove to be spot on. So if you are reasonably fluent in one of those languages, you should be comfortable holidaying in places where the other is spoken.

Even so, I was surprised to find that doing very well on the Romanian music charts at the moment is Falava, a song in Portuguese and English by Romanian singer Andra and a band by the name of Naguale. It’s catchy and has got a sort of Turkish/Arabic/Ottoman snake charmer cum bellydance-type feel to it (my belly gyrated while playing it). As a bonus, the video features colourful exotic scenes from Rio de Janeiro, including street life, mouth-watering tropical fruits and the obligatory long-legged beauties in skimpy costumes wiggling their bits (it’s a bit in your face at times).

Andra certainly sounds comfortable in the Portuguese language, and the radio studio version below shows this is so with live performances too.

The lyrics to the song can be found here.

Andra is very popular in Romania. Here’s her big summer hit from 2013, Inevitabil va fi bine (Inevitably everything will be fine) … happy memories for me!

BUFFED BODY ALERT!

I don’t know much about Naguale, but according to the band/musician’s Facebook page it’s a (one-man?) band led by Bucharest-based Ovidiu Baciu and the music genre is “Balkan Club”. Here he teams up with a couple of other heavy-hitters on the Romanian music scene, Glance and Elena Gheorghe. In this video, the naked flesh on display is of the big and buffed blokey type. There are subtitles in English.

Vale young Brazilian singer Cristiano Araújo

Popular Brazilian singer Cristiano Araújo, 29, and his girlfriend died after a car crash in the early hours of Wednesday morning this week in the state of Goiás. He had been touring and was due to appear at a festival in the north-eastern city of Fortaleza this weekend. His death shocked Brazil, as he was seen to be one of the stars of his generation and was also popular with the Brazilian and Latino community in the United States too. As the video clip (below) shows, his concerts certainly don’t lack visual spectacle.

Like Michel Teló, who had a massive hit worldwide with Ai, se eu te pego!, Araújo’s musical style is heavily influenced by sertanejo, the “country” music of the north-east. Here, in a different style though, is another of Araújo’s recent big hits, Caso Indefinido (Undefined Case).

 

Eurovision 2015: you win some, you lose some

The Eurovision 2015 semifinals have been held and what’s the news for my Romance language favourites?

GOOD NEWS: In semi-final one, Romania’s Voltaj got the nod to appear in the final. Here is their semifinal appearance. This song gives me goosebumps.

Great too, to see Razvan Schinteie, the boy who stars in the short film screened behind Voltaj, waving from the audience at the end. Good to see he made it safe and sound to Vienna! (In the film, he sets off on a little boat by himself going up the Danube in search of his “lost” parents, despite not knowing their address – more about that story here).

BAD NEWS: In semi-final two poor old Portugal got dumped again; pity – Leonor Andrade sang more powerfully than I expected compared to the recorded version, and unlike some Portuguese entries in previous years, I like this song. And good on Portugal for having the guts to sing in the native language.

The final will be a marathon with 27 countries participating, including Australia! How will Romance language contenders France, Spain and Italy fare?

Can Lenor Andrade do a Lúcia Moniz and surprise for Portugal at Eurovision 2015?

Portugal’s entrant in the 2015 Eurovision song contest is a Lisbon law student and TV actress, Lenor Andrade. She rose to fame as a contestant last year in season 2 of The Voice Portugal (won by Rui Drummond), usually performing soulful, bluesy numbers that enabled her to show off her powerful, gutsy voice.

Here she is, for example, doing a cover of Nina Simone’s Feeling Good – see how quickly she convinces judge Mickael Carreira!

Lenor subsequently took part in, and won, the annual Festival da Canção (from which Portugual’s Eurovision representative is chosen) with a more upbeat pop/rock song Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa (There Is A Sea That Separates Us). It is a song suited to a nation perched on the western coast of Europe, and which has a fascinating maritime history.

I like the song, it grows on me, but I find it a little subdued, vocally – at least as recorded here. Perhaps it comes across better live. English and Spanish versions of the song will be on their way soon, apparently.

Funnily enough, you won’t hear the exact title in the song. Instead the chorus starts with Se é o mar que nos separa… (If it’s the sea that separates us...)

The Portuguese lyrics and English translation are here on the Lyrics Translate website., where Dutch, Catalan, German, Spanish and French translations can be found too.

Mickael Correira, incidentally, sang on the Portuguese market version of Enrique Iglesias’s big hit Bailando – you can see it and the Brazilian and Spanish versions here.

Portugal’s best performance at Eurovision was in Oslo in 1996 when Lúcia Moniz came sixth with O Meu Coração Não Tem Cor (My Heart Has No Colour).

Lúcia was very young at the time, but went on to have a successful singing and acting career, both in Portugal and overseas: British heartthrob Colin Firth proposed to her in the film Love Actually! Perhaps similar opportunities are in store for young Lenor.

Here’s a more recent performance from her… the song is smooth, she is sultry.

Sydney says bye to Baila Brazil, hello to Ludovico, Laura and Liana

Here in Sydney at this time of the year we like to think that we are very cultured, and we are probably right. Melburnians might not agree, but that’s another story. January is the month of the Sydney festival, and the harbour city hosts many free events in its parks and other outdoor venues. February (our hottest month) gets pretty festive too. Artists from the northern hemisphere, keen for respite from their horrible winters, flock south like migrating artistic birds.

Recently the city had a Brazilian flavour to it with the arrival of the Baila Brazil dancers:

On February 8 popular Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi will be performing at the Sydney Opera House with the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra. For details, and a chance to listen to some of his music, go here. On February 11 he will be performing at QPAC Concert Hall in Brisbane, and then on the 13th and 14th he will be at the Hamer Hall in Melbourne. Auckland gets a look-in too, on February 18. Details here.

Here he is performing one of my favourite compositions of his, Nuvole Bianche (White Clouds).

And more exciting news: my favourite Italian singer Laura Pausini is finally coming to Australia as part of her greatest hits world tour (she was originally due in mid-2014 but the shows had to be cancelled). She’s on at the Margaret Court Arena in Melbourne on Friday 13 – tickets can be bought here – and at the Qantas Credit Union Arena (what a ghastly name for a venue) in Sydney on Saturday, February 14. If you want to spend Valentine’s Day night with Laura, tickets can be bought here.

I’ve covered some of her biggest hits in the post Great songs in one language and another (she sometimes sings in other Romance languages), but here is a taste of what to expect, Limpido, a No.1 hit in Italy in 2013 with Australia’s best known singer, Kylie Minogue.

Here is a Italian-French-Spanish version of Io Canto (I Sing)

Meanwhile, the music promoter who brought Leandro to Australia in November is bringing another Portuguese star, Liana, to Wollongong, Sydney, and Melbourne in that order. Once again the profits from these shows will be donated to Cerebral Palsy Australia, for whom the Leandro concerts raised $10,000. You can obtain tickets by contacting the promoter on neves1940@hotmail.com  or calling 0433-775-538.

Liana is the latest in a long line of  fado sensations that include Mariza. She was the star of the most successful musical ever in Portugal, Amália (based on the life and career of Amália Rodrigues), and she is also a one-time lead vocalist with the Portugues-Swedish folk band Stockholm Lisboa Project.

Details of Liana’s concerts are:

  1. Friday, February 6 at the Association Costa Do Sul at 127 Flagstaff Road, Warrawong, Wollongong. Doors open 6.30pm, show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets from $23. Contact the secretary on 4274 3192, or  Joe Alves . 0412-105-302.  by email scpal975@yahoo.com.au. A two-course dinner is available for $20. Tickets for details.
  2. Saturday, February 7, at the Sydney Portugal Community Club, Fraser Park, at 100 Marrickville Road, Marrickville. Tickets including dinner range from $48 to $72. Doors open at 5.30pm, show starts at 6.30pm. Contact the club secretary on 9550-6344 or email cpcc@tpg.com.au. After hours, call 0450-775-538. Bookings must be done by Monday, February 2.
  3. Sunday, February 8, at the Burwood RSL. Doors open at 1pm, show starts at 2pm. Tickets from $17. Contact  Burwood RSL on  8741 2888.
  4. Saturday, February 14, at the Group Cultura and Folclorico, 6-15 Brex Court, Reservoir, Melbourne. Doors open at  5.30pm, show starts at 6.30pm. Tickets from $55, dinner included. Contact 0402 933 997 or 0401 179 187 for details, or email veralisatavares@gmail.com

If you liked the Baila Brazil snippet above, here is a longer clip for you.