About passion for music

Five observations and one conclusion

1

I search actively for music that is new to me, and sometimes I introduce what I find and like to friends of mine. Sometimes those friends become as enthusiastic as I am, but sometimes not.

For a long time I thought that a more hesitant reaction from friends meant that they rather liked other artists or other kinds of music – and that they liked their favourites with the same passion as I like mine. After some years I understood that this was often not the case. They simple were not into music as much as I was. Their main interests and passion in life were elsewhere. An ordinary and simple fact, but it had not occurred to me before.

There are probably many, many misunderstandings in life because you think that other people are like you. You understand that there are differences in personalities and preferences, but you often misinterpret the true nature of those differences.

2

Well, what does it mean to “be into music” – or to “be interested in music” the way that I am? When I tell about my interest in music most people ask me if I sing or play any instrument myself, and I then have to confess that I don’t. My interest in music lies elsewhere.

Some people instead believe that my interest in music means that I have a vast knowledge of genres, composers, lyric writers, songs, musicians, singers etc. Well, if you listen to a lot of music, as I do, you eventually pick up a thing or two. You know a bit more than the average person, but my ”being into music” is not in the first place fact oriented. Learning facts is only a by-product of my interest, and it can help me to find more music to pursue the true goal of my music interest.

If I do not play music myself, or am not very interested in the facts associated with music, what does then constitute my interest in music? The simple answer is enjoyment of other people’s musical expressions. Of course not any music or any musician, but I love to listen to soulful music of different genres, and I love to experience the different expressions and identities of soulful artists. And I love the beauty of melodies, voices, instruments and arrangements.

3

But there is yet another important thing. I also try to understand why I like different kinds of music, what the music does to me, and possibly to others. What is it about me and what is it about my favourite music that makes me love it?

This is an interesting and pleasurable way to get to know both the music and yourself better. This is why the tag line of Musik.pm spells “exploring, and expressing the experience of music”. I want to explore my experiences and express my conclusions. This is what I often try to do at Musik.pm. (Most obvious in Personality and music preferences.)

Sometimes the answers of these analyses also makes me understand why I am indifferent, or even negative, to some music, but those observations are not in the focus of my attention. This is another important feature of Musik.pm. I do not, as critics have to do, write about music I do not like.

Even if I take myself and my own favourites as a departure point for these analysis, I want to stimulate the reader to do similar analysis of their personalities and music taste.

4

For those who cannot play or sing at all, or well enough to enjoy it, that avenue of pleasure and passion is obviously closed. If they still have a passion for music they can, like me, satisfy that passion by experiencing music performed by others. Those who sing and play themselves can have access to both avenues – that of making music and that of enjoying other musician’s performances.

When it comes to experiencing music played by others, are there any differences between non-musicians and musicians? If there are, how could those differences effect the quality of the experience?

One difference is probably the degree of awareness of the technique and the effort that the performing musicians put into their performance. Maybe you as a musician, more than a non-musician, can discern and apprehend “the construction” of a music performance. And probably musicians can do that more easily the more the performed music is close to their own expertise as musicians. Maybe such awareness somewhat can hinder musicians from enjoying the experience in terms of passion. The non-musician might not have that filter blocking his or her passion when experiencing a music performance.

Another difference might be that musicians use most of their passion for music to make music, simply because they find making music more rewarding than listening to music. Hence, there might not be as much engagement and passion left for “consuming” music, not as much as the non-musicians have. Non-musicians can focus all of their passion for music on experiencing music performed by others.

5

I used the word “consuming” above to name the activity of the members of an audience. But “consuming” is actually not a good word when you talk about something you have an emotional passion for. Emotional passion means that you are an active participant in the creation of your experience, and often also in creating the experience of the musician. For instance, this is how the relation between a fadista and the guests in a Portuguese fado house often is described. The fado loving guest in a fado house is not a passive consumer. Although silent during a fado song, he or she is still a co-creator of the fado experience. An experience of passion.

Conclusion

We are blessed by the fact that different people are interested in music in different ways. Some use their passion to make music for the passion of people like me. And some are passionate about the facts associated with music. They provide the structure to guide us in the world of music.

 

&

The photos above illustrates another passion of mine, a passion for nature. I live close by a forest. At the end of my walks in that forest, I always pass this small lake.

Here are a few examples of music I have a passion for. In interaction, the musicians and I  create my experiences; experiences that make my life warmer, sometimes more exciting, and anyhow more meaningful.

What’s your passion in music?

 

 

 

 

 

The Sant Andreu Jazz Band formula

Sant Andreu Jazz Band at the home of Joan Chamorro. Photo by Joan Chamorro.

 

Sant Andreu Jazz Band is a youth band led by Joan Chamorro, playing music with emphasis on a classic jazz repertoire. The band has become an international Internet phenomenon through YouTube and social media, and nowadays it also tours around the world.

Sant Andreu is one of Barcelona’s nine main districts. The start of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band was a small music class at the local music school Escola Municipal de Música de Sant Andreu. Joan Chamorro was a teacher there, and as a passionate jazz musician he introduced jazz to a small group of eight young students who had not played jazz before. Their training in the school had so far been focused on classical music. Their first attempts to play jazz was of course not very deft, and it did not involve much (if any) of the improvisational elements of jazz. This was back in 2006, and a lot has happened during the twelve years up till now.

The Sant Andreu Jazz Band is today an independent music project with some twenty members of different ages. They play jazz and related genres with high quality, although there are some very young musicians in the band. This is not to say that everyone in every way and all the time play like experienced professionals, but as a whole the band holds a remarkable high quality. They play sophisticated arrangements with strength and elegance and the solo improvisations are mature and played with passion. It is quite a remarkable development. Together with the charm of youth the band is irresistible. You just have to love them!

Carla Motis. Photo by Josep Colet.

Two weeks ago I had the privilege to have an interesting and very pleasant talk about the band with Joan Chamorro and two of the band members – Carla Motis and Èlia Bastida. Carla Motis plays the guitar and she sometimes does backing vocals. Èlia plays violin and tenor saxophone and she also does vocals, sometimes as the lead singer, sometimes backing others. We met at a café in the basement of Stockholm Concert Hall. In the evening the band would do a concert in the big hall above. The concert was a part of the Stockholm Jazz Festival.

Èlia Bastida. Photo by Lili Bonmati.

I arrived at the concert hall in good time for our meeting, and on the side of the hall I saw a well-known Swedish jazz musician walking in the opposite direction on the pavement, the trombonist, singer and band leader Nils Landgren. You see a lot of well-known people in Stockholm, so there is nothing peculiar about that. I continued to the main entrance where Joan and I were supposed to meet some fifteen minutes later. Joan was already there and he told me that he was looking for a person he was supposed to meet at the stage entrance. We found out that the person he was looking for was in fact Nils Landgren, who wanted to make a connection with Joan because he was interested in Joan’s work. We walked together in the direction where I earlier saw Nils Landgren, and we spotted him almost immediately. We said hello, and Nils politely asked me if he could talk to Joan just for a few minutes. There is no other answer to such a question than a “yes”. I waited at the main entrance, and a few minutes later Joan came back, anxious to keep his appoint with me. So, Joan is a busy person who many want to talk to and learn from. He is also generous with his time, and his ambition is obviously to give everyone what is agreed.

Joan Chamorro

When we entered the café (exactly on time) we had thirty minutes before the band´s rehearsal, but there was not a sign that Joan and the two band members would not give me and my questions full attention for the full half hour. Although the band now has quite a reputation around the world Joan and the girls did not have the slightest touch of diva manners. Instead, it was almost like we worked together. Joan told me to sit at the top of the table. Then he went to buy coffee for all of us, so I could start the discussion with Carla and Èlia. When he came back we continued the discussion, and we did it in English since I cannot speak a word of Spanish. They helped each other to understand and answer my questions. English and Spanish discussions were mingled around the table.

I have a good reason to give you these pictures of the social settings around my interview ­– about what happened before my interview and about the interaction during the interview. My hypothesis is that these settings indicate an important cultural dimension of the success formula of the band. Music, people, sharing and cooperation are in the centre of the band’s focus, not image building, glamour and other surface phenomenon.

Joan, Carla, Bengt-Ove and Èlia

When I asked about the basic concept or method of the band Joan told me that the work rests on four basic principles. Joan started to tell the story of those principles, and Carla and Èlia joined in, explained and gave examples. The features of the formula are obviously known and shared by these two senior members of the band, probably also by the others. The principles proved to be mainly of cultural character, and congenial with my observations above.

Firstly, said Joan, the young people need to hear a lot of jazz. Listening makes you feel the qualities and the soul of the music, and how it differs from other kinds of music. Of course you have to learn the songs and to play your instrument, but hearing jazz played is more important than the command of transcriptions.

Secondly, there is the belief that young persons, children and teenagers, actually can play jazz. As a leader and teacher of young musicians you have to have that belief. The young musicians then feel your confidence in them, and they also feel their own confidence in themselves. This might sound like a simple idea to adopt, but admit; quite many of us have the more or less conscious notion that jazz is music for grown-ups. Of course you cannot as a child play difficult things right from the start. Your contributions to the band’s music are small in the beginning, and senior members perform the more advanced tasks. But gradually you become more and more senior, both in age and tasks. And all the time there is this belief in you – the basic belief that you actually can play jazz.

Thirdly there is the sense of presence. When you play you have to be there, not somewhere else. You have to be in the music and together with the others in the group. You must not observe yourself from the outside, from the views of spectators or a camera. The spectators or the camera might not be there, but you can anyway observe yourself from that kind of perspective, and such preoccupation will split your focus.

Fourthly, there is the positive energy of the group. The younger learn from the older, and you are perceived as important regardless of the size of your contribution. And eventually the younger get more experienced and take on the roles of seniors and role models.

There are a couple of connecting features of the band that fit neatly together with these four principles. Many members take on different roles in the band. Sometimes you are the front figure as vocalist/instrumentalist, sometimes you sit in the band backing up other band members who are the front figures in those songs. And many members play more than one instrument and sing very well too. It should also be mentioned that several senior members have been featured in special albums, backed up by the others and/or professional musicians. Altogether this means that the band really works as a school where everybody is supposed to have his or her chance, but the band uses this modus operandi and still keeps up an exceptional quality.

The band nowadays performs many times a year in different constellations, often outside Spain. There are also more video recordings of a high technical and musical quality on YouTube than I have seen with any other group or artist. (This exceptional YouTube coverage has paved the way for many, including me, to discover the band, and then to follow it.) And there are many albums produced and released. Aside from the musical side of all these activities, all administrative and media work around touring, albums and videos must take a lot of effort and time. I ask if all this work is carried out by personnel in a Barcelona office, but there is no such office. However, Joan gets a lot of help from parents to band members, and he also likes to be in the centre of things himself, also practical issues. The band is what I do, says Joan, and looks happy about it.

Joan Chamorro. Photo: Toni Ricart

What about the musical side of the band, then? Who works with all this? As the musical director, Joan of course is in charge of the music in terms of planning, repertoire, arrangements, rehearsals and performances. Joan leads rehearsals not only of the band as a whole, but also of the different sections separately – trombones, trumpets, rhythmic section and saxophones. In addition, the saxophone players receive Joan’s individual saxophone classes since they started those classes with him as very young. Other members get a lot of their training as musicians in their basic music schools and universities, but anyone who wants to deepen in jazz music could receive Joan’s classes. Again, Sant Andreu Jazz Band is a music school to its members. Joan’s main instrument is tenor saxophone, but he also plays other saxophones as well as double base.

Joan is obviously a very important person to the band, being in the centre of both music and organisational tasks. However, you can now and then see signs of an ambition to make the musicians take on leadership responsibility. On stage, you can sometimes see that Joan has delegated the setting of tempo and other guidance of the band to the soloists. And sometimes there are micro discussions between soloists and Joan before starting the songs. A culture of sharing and involvement.

Another important feature of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band is its collaboration with professional musicians. I ask how Joan, aside from the collaboration with his own quartet, finds all the well-known professional musicians that from time to time play with the band.  Are they old pals of his? No, this is not so. Joan selects good professional musicians that he believes could fit with the band, calls them, presents the band, and asks if they are interested in collaboration. They often are, and after the first joint sessions the contact is established.  All professional musicians that I have seen seem to have a very good time playing with the band, and obviously they often come back. Of course the band’s development benefits from the collaboration, but I would not be surprised if the professionals also would argue that they benefit from it.

An earlier version of the Sant Andreu Jazz Band

Is this a band where the members will grow old together, until you cannot really call it a youth band, or will it regenerate over time? All three answered this question with strong conviction. It is definitely not a band where the members will grow old staying in the band and where no new ones can enter. All three assured me that the band over time will regenerate, and it is already going on. The youngest member is Max Munné , who is eight, and he joined the band just a few months ago.

Carla is now the only original member of the band. She is 21 and was 9 when the band started. Èlia joined the band 2012 when she was 17. She is now 23. Both had played their main instruments (guitar and violin) several years before they started in the band ­– Carla since she was six and Èlia since she was four. Two years after Èlia joined the band she started to play the saxophone, inspired by others in the band and given the possibility by Joan.

Joan Chamorro

If you search for the band on YouTube you get a mix of videos from different years, and you can see that there over some years has been a strong core of members developing in the band, a core that now probably is getting close to go somewhere else in musical life. However there is no reason to believe that the Sant Andreu Jazz Band will not be successful in the future regeneration process. If you can create a band like that from almost nothing, you will probably also be successful in regenerating the band. And the Sant Andreu Jazz Band must today be a very attractive band for young musicians to be a part of.

The only problem I see for the future is when it is time to find a successor to Joan Chamorro. Sant Andreu Jazz Band is very much a music project built on his vision and sustained by his passion. The four principles above might seem easy enough to formulate and to accede to in theory. But the formula does not rest on theoretical principles; it rests on a very personal and lived practice. Regeneration of leaders can be difficult. Fortunately that moment is probably far away in time.

As a last question I asked Joan, Carla and Èlia for an advice on where to see the band next time. They all agreed that I should come to the performance in November 28 at the Palau de la Música Catalana, in Barcelona. Seeing the magnificent hall and the program (photo and links below), I cannot resist…

 

Palau de la Música Catalana
Sant Andreu Jazz Band at Palau de la Música Catalana

 

Earlier posts about Sant Andreu Jazz Band at Musik.pm: Sant Andreu Jazz Band, Sant Andreu Jazz Band Live and La Màgia de la Veu & Jazz Ensemble

Follow Sant Andreu Jazz Band on blogspot.com and on social media. And of course on YouTube!

Below you’ll find links to a mix of YouTube videos from different years and with different constellations, often also involving professional musicians. The video list is not arranged in categories. To me, this unsorted mix of ages and constellations is an important part of the charm of this band. And the list only gives you the song titles. You will find information about who is playing in connection to each video.

You can easily find many, many more nice music videos if you search for Sant Andreu Jazz Band and/or Joan Chamorro on YouTube!

Music videos shared by Musik.pm

A register

Now there is a register of Music videos shared by Musik.pm – shared in the posts on this site and/or on Facebook. Click Music Videos and you are there. The register is easy to use. Follow the simple instructions to explore, click the links and enjoy the videos.

Musik.pm started September 27, 2012. It will take some time to complete the register, starting with the most recent posts and working slowly towards 2012. But you can already use the register to find nice music. You can see a few of the artists in the photo collage above.

Saudade and Climate

Source: Pixabay

The summer 2018 has been very warm, in my country and in many other countries. Temperature records have been set in many places, and the absence of rain has caused severe drought. The drought has in turn damaged vegetation and led to many forest fires. It is hard not to assume that the weather this summer is a sign of what exceedingly will come if we do not stop climate change. But our scientists have known about climate change for decades, and we should be worried about the future regardless of the weather this particular summer. Even if we had had a cold summer 2018 our worries about the future should have been the same.

Why do I write about climate change in a post on Musik.pm, a site that focuses on our experiences and love of music? It will soon be evident. An important connection is the Portuguese concept “saudade”, the sentiment of many fado songs.

Music has been important to me all my life, and I believe I share the love of music with many. We love different kinds of music and we love music in different ways, but to most of us music plays an important role in our lives. I do not play any instruments myself and I do not sing much – but I listen, watch, enjoy and integrate music in my emotional life. It is a part of human culture that means a lot to me.

The Internet is a fantastic tool to discover music that is previously unknown to you. The associations provided by general search engines, different streaming services and online stores let you start the association game wherever you want and invites you to experience artists somewhat related to the musical neighbourhood of your starting point.

This is how I found the Portuguese fado, a genre quite a bit from my usual music choices by the time. The associations this time forwarded me to Portugal from the Brazilian music I then was trying to get to know better. The musical associations are sensitive to cultural connections, and there are many historical and cultural links between Brazil and Portugal. Fado actually “spent some time” in Brazil during its development, and recently the Portuguese fadista Carminho has interpreted Brazilian Tom Jobim’s music on a fantastic album where fado expression is amalgamated with the soul of bossa nova. (See Carminho)

Anyhow, the association helped me to discover fado, a genre that found a passage into my identity and soul. (See Personality and music preferences) I then listened a lot to fado, and reading about fado I learned about the many fado houses in Portugal. Naturally my wife and I then wanted to go to Portugal and experience fado in those fado houses. We did so in 2016, and once more in 2017. (See A Fado Experience, A Lisbon week of Fado and The Conserva-te Experience.) We also attended fado concerts in Sweden.

After our fado excursions in Portugal I came to feel Portugal as a country that is particularly close to me. It is not my home country, but the cultural experiences in Portugal have made me connect emotionally more closely to Portugal than to most countries. I suppose this is an effect of sharing a cultural expression, and to do that on location. It is also a fruit of the connections we have made with Portuguese people living in Sweden.

I sensed this close emotional bond when I some weeks ago heard about the extreme temperatures that awaited Lisbon and Portugal during a peak of the summer heat. Also remembering the devastating fires in Portugal last summer I asked myself – can one live there if this development continues?

From these thoughts I suddenly realised something. It was not a revolutionary and inventive thought, just a line of thinking that I have not pursued the full way before. Maybe you haven’t either. We tend to think about climate change primarily as something that concerns nature and our possibilities to live a good physical life in our world. Can we sustain the heat, can we get food and water enough, and can we at all continue to live where we today live?

But climate change is not only about nature and our physical well-being. Culture is also at risk – in my first glimpse of this thought represented by my loved fado. What would happen to fado? But of course fado is only one of many cultural expressions. There are enormous amounts of cultural expressions in terms of music, art, literature, poetry, theatre, philosophy and science in Portugal and in all other countries in the world.

Global warming changes the conditions of nature in a way that has many threatening consequences for mankind – and actually for all living. And there is a dangerous tipping-point not too far away. This is the point where we cannot stop the development because we have started autonomous and accelerating dynamics. The state into which the earth can develop if climate change is not stopped is devastating. On the way to this state there might be severe conflicts in the competition for liveable conditions.

To imagine that our generation would not be able to save climate, not be able to save the living planet, and not be able to save the culture that humanity has developed and passed on from generation to generation – that is a truly devastating thought. Can there be a thought more relevant for the fado sentiment of “saudade” – sorrow for something valuable that forever is lost? The bitter irony is that among the fruitful seeds of human culture there have also grown some seeds that have created the situation where mankind and all its culture are at risk.

But if we could use this insight and the image of “the ultimate saudade” as a motivation to act, then maybe we can help to avoid the catastrophe. But we have to hurry.
  • We must encourage our politicians to agree on climate-friendly policies. Presumably, they must be encouraged by us because they may think we would react negatively to the necessary reorientations in our lives.
  • Ourselves, we have to consume in a more climate-friendly way. One example of many is to avoid flying.
  • Climate-friendly consumption will in turn direct production of goods and services to climate-friendly goods and services.

Let us all do this! Let us do this to save the climate of our planet, thereby saving life on this planet and thereby saving culture created by mankind.

______________

Climate-friendly choices are fully compatible with a good life. My wife and I will soon visit Portugal again, but we have stopped flying. Next time we go to our loved Portugal we will travel by train. On our way we will enjoy some nice experiences in the countries we pass. Not being able to travel to Portugal and experience fado would be a sacrifice. Going by train is not.

 

An asymmetrical relation

Mariza in Laeiszhalle, Hamburg, December 2014. Source: Facebook

Some songs and singers really touch my heart. I am sure most people have those experiences. Music can reach into one’s very personal and strong emotions. The feelings might be aroused by the music and/or the lyrics of a song. For me the understanding of the lyrics is not the most important element of my experience. The lyrics are of course important as an inspiration to the singer, but it is the musical side of the songs that is important to me – the melody, the voice, the instruments, the arrangements, and of course the total expression.

Since music can touch very personal and strong emotions it might happen that one transfers those emotions to the performing artist. You might in fact subconsciously feel a sort of emotional bond with the singer. It is like you actually have a close relation. And, after all, in your own life it is people close to you that normally can arouse such feelings. Intellectually you know that this is not the case with the artist, but emotionally you can still feel the emotions of a close relation.

If you do not understand the true nature of this relation such feelings can be problematic, especially in combination with dissatisfaction with your own life. Then you might build a dreamworld with you and the artist as a substitute for your own life, and dreamworlds are never adequate solutions to real existential problems. Such a situation can also trigger a person to become a stalker.

Source: SaultOnline

But this is not the ordinary situation. Most of us can tell the difference between a personal relation and the relation between an artist and his/hers audience. We understand that the feelings aroused within us stem from the qualities of the song and the artist’s ability to sing or play it in an engaging way.

The relation between the artist and the individuals enjoying his or hers songs is in fact one of many asymmetrical relations in life – meaning that the relation looks very different depending on from which side you see it. The asymmetrical aspect of this kind of relations has many dimensions. The most significant one might be that the artist is the one who delivers expressions and the individuals enjoying the songs are the ones who receive those expressions.

The asymmetrical aspect of this relation is also emphasized by the sheer fact of numbers. The artist is one person and the audience is a multitude of individuals. The artist’s exclusiveness feeds the image of celebrity, and there is a sort of magnetism in such an image. I suppose many of you have had the experience of spotting a celebrity in a public place, and it is in that situation hard for anyone to carry on with one’s doings unaffected of the presence of the famous person.

Being known and being at least a bit famous is of course important to any artist. It is important for the artist to make a living, and it signifies the fact that his or her music has a value to people. This must be two important aims for most artists.

But the asymmetrical relation between artist and audience can also stand in the way for the artist’s possibilities to live an ordinary life. Even if it is fun and even necessary at times to be in the focused attention of many people, there are times when an artist would like to be anonymous or on equal terms with people. This cannot be easy when the rest of us have a hard time looking away when we spot a well-known person in a public place. And telling the difference between true friendship (or love) and an artist-fan relation can be equally difficult for the artist as for the fan/friend. But as an artist you cannot just turn on and off “famousness” at your convenience. It is there, or not there, whether you want it or not, and being famous can disturb personal relations.

But, although the relation between artists and their audience is a truly asymmetrical relation there are also other aspects worth mentioning. These are so obvious and natural that you might miss to see them. First, the audience have the songs in common with performing artists. Even if one side sends the expressions and the other side receives them, we still have the songs in common. And even if we have different relations to the songs, we have the song together that causes these different relations. And chances are that artists and audience, after all, have pretty much the same kind of relation to a song.

Second, we are all human beings with common basic needs. Even if it at times can seem as if an artist is a “supreme” kind of human being, it is in fact not so. We all have the same kind of basic needs of self-esteem, love, belongingness and understanding of the world. The different roles we play in society offer us different ways to pursue these aims, but it is the same kind of aims. This fact gives us important clues to the understanding of ourselves and others – including the artists we love and their songs.

 

Mariza. Source: New Internationalist

To conclude this post I want to tell you two personal stories illustrating asymmetry. In my love of music I have come to love a number of artists and their songs. As you might have read earlier I discovered fado some years ago, and eventually I came to love it. At one time the great fadista Mariza came to perform in my home town Gothenburg. As a fan I knew long beforehand about the concert, and I bought tickets for me, my wife and two friends the very first day the tickets were sold.

The day of the concert I had lunch with a colleague at a restaurant close to the concert hall. On my way out after having lunch I saw a person who I recognised, and after a few seconds I realised that it was Mariza sitting there together with another woman. I walked away together with my colleague, but realised when we had parted that I just could not leave it there. I could not leave without expressing my love of Mariza’s music. I had so many times enjoyed her music videos on YouTube, especially those from the outdoor concert in Lisbon 2006, and had felt the deep emotions that I discuss above.

So I went back to the restaurant and walked up to the two ladies, still sitting at their table. I greeted them welcome to Gothenburg and expressed my love of Mariza’s music. I also told them about my introduction to Mariza and her music at Musik.pm (unfortunately only in Swedish), and how much I had enjoyed her concert in Laeiszhalle in Hamburg the year before. They both looked a little bit surprised, maybe because Mariza is not a well-known artist to the general public in Sweden. I might very well have been the only person in that crowded restaurant who recognised Mariza. If she would have got attention from several others I would not have approached her. But Mariza and her company smiled kindly, took my hand and thanked me – and that was it. I said I was looking forward to the concert and left them at the table. Entering in their privacy is something that I did not do without hesitation, and a minute or two of intrusion was what I could force myself to. Afterwards I thought I might have asked for the possibility of a photo, and of course it would have been nice to have a photo of us three together. But if I had done that our short rendezvous would have been turned into something else. To handle an asymmetrical relation in an ordinary life situation is a delicate act of balance.

 

Keren Ann at Les Etoiles

Second story: Last year my wife and I went to Paris to see Keren Ann in a concert. I discovered her the year before, and found out that Keren Ann has been a well-known singer-songwriter since 2000, although not well-known everywhere. We came to love her music very much, and I wrote an introduction to her music at Musik.pm. We decided to go to Paris just to see this one concert, named One night alone with Keren Ann. It was a standing concert at the small venue “Les Etoiles”, and Keren Ann was on her own. Just Keren Ann and her guitars, nothing else.

The concert was quickly sold out, and although it was advertised as the “One night with Keren Ann”, one more concert was announced to take place the day after the first one. My wife suggested that we should buy tickets to that concert as well, and I happily agreed.

The week before we went to Paris I sent a note to Keren Ann addressed to Les Etoiles, telling her about my introduction to her music at Musik.pm, provided a link, and wrote that we would be in the audience on both concerts.

It was two beautiful concerts, and in the end of the first one I suddenly realised that Keren Ann between two songs was talking about the note I had sent her. She said that she had read it only the day of the concert and that she was deeply moved, and she greeted us welcome to both concerts. And then this very special moment was over. We have never met, and we will probably never do. But to me it is a great experience to know that I have reached through to Keren Ann with the expressions of my thoughts, as she has done to me with her songs. In a small way this has a little bit reduced the asymmetry of our relation.

When I got home I posted a story about the two concerts at Musik.pm. There I wrote that the title of the concerts refers to the fact that Keren Ann is alone on the stage. But I also guessed that the choice of title was supposed to convey the meaning that each and every individual in the audience would be alone with Keren Ann. A play with words and meanings. And in the soft parts of the concert this is actually what happened. I have never before experienced an artist who so genuinely can relate to each and every one in an audience. This is also a way to convert an asymmetrical relation to something else.

 

And here is first Mariza and then Keren Ann.

 

 

Cécile McLorin Salvant

Cover image of Dreams and Daggers

A second Grammy for Cécile McLorin Salvant

I found Cécile McLorin Salvant on YouTube in December 2014, and realized that this was a new jazz singer out of the ordinary. Well, she was new to me, but she had by the time already received much appreciation in jazz circles. Some three years later she has received two Grammy awards – the last one yesterday for her latest album, Dreams and Daggers.

Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in 1989 in Miami by a French mother and a Haitian father. She took piano lessons early in life, and eventually also singing lessons. After high school, she moved to Aix-en-Provence in France to study law, but also classical song. There she met with the teacher and reedist Jean-François Bonnel, who introduced her to improvisation and vocal jazz. She started to sing with bands, and in 2009 Cécile and Bonnel´s Quintet recorded the album Cécile and the Jean-François Bonnel Paris Quintet.

Back in the US, Cécile 2010 won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in Washington D.C. Later the same year she released her first own album, titled Cécile. In the fall of 2012 she recorded the album WomanChild together with pianist Aaron Diehl, Rodney Whitaker, Herlin Riley and James Chirillo. The album, released the following year, contains an unusual song material. In addition to original songs, it consists of a number of rarely played songs from the older jazz and blues repertoire. The album was very well received, and Cécile was compared to several of the really big female jazz vocalists. (See, for example, the cited review in the image above.) So I should have known about Cécile.

Her next album, For One to Love, was released in 2016, and for that she received her first Grammy award. And now we are at present date. Yesterday her latest album, Dreams and Daggers, was awarded with her second Grammy.

It should be noted that Cécile has continued her very successful collaboration with pianist Aaron Diehl. Diehl’s trio with Paul Sikivie on double bass and Lawrence Leathers on drums is a perfect match with Cécile. She also sings with other bands, but this is the combination I love the most.

So, a lot of people love the way Cécile McLorin Salvant sings jazz. I am sure many of you also do. Well, what is it about Cécile’s singing that makes me so much appreciate it? I believe it primarily is the natural, personal and self-confident way she interprets the songs. This applies both to the musical and to the dramatic side of her interpretations. She is a remarkable singer, but she also knows how to make theatre out of the songs – without losing sight of the fact that it still is music she is executing. Sometimes it’s comedy, sometimes it’s tragedy, but always very personal. Cécile’s interpretation skills indicate a remarkable measure of artistic maturity.

Despite these qualities, Cécile is only 28 years old. (She becomes 29 in August.) She has made an impressive musical journey before she turns thirty. WomanChild was recorded in the year she became 23, For One to Love came 2016 (the year she became 27) and Dreams and Daggers was released last year. And along with several other rewards and honors she has earned two Grammy awards.

I was fortunate to enjoy Cécile perform in a small club in Oslo May 2015, and as soon as she returns to Scandinavia I will see her again. Probably then in a big concert hall. When your favourites become famous you need to share them with many more music lovers.

In January 2015 I published a post (in Swedish) about Cécile on Musik.pm, including links to some very nice video recordings. Waiting to see her live in the part of the world where you live, you can enjoy those music videos and some more here.

 

More:

I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate

I Didn’t Know What Time It Was

Nobody

Poor Butterfly

John Henry

Le front caché sur tes genoux

WomanChild

Look at Me

You’re My Thrill

Red Instead

You’ve Got to Give Me Some

You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me

 

Gin Wigmore

The cover image of Gravel & Wine

A musical treasure hunt that ended in New Zealand

On-line stores that sell music often provide their customers with information about the music that is assumed to be close to the customer´s earlier choices. When you view a specific album you are informed about what other customers have bought along with the one you are viewing. Spotify and other operators provide similar technologies.

This service is a valuable tool for those of us who search for new music – and you don´t have to buy anything to use the service. Of course one does not have to stop at the first proposals. Often you need to move on and investigate the artists that are associated with these proposals, and so on. The work does require some patience because many of the artists that are suggested are uninteresting or bleak copies of the artist you started with. But after a few hours, following different paths of musical associations, you can sometimes find an amazing artist that you might not have found otherwise. At least not until much later, when the artist’s reputation might have found its way to your usual media.

Image from YouTube

That is what happened when I in March 2012 found Gin Wigmore from New Zealand. I do not remember today who the starting point artist was, but it may very well have been Amy Winehouse. After having tested many different paths and artists without any luck, Gin’s voice suddenly “cut” through the room. When you hear that voice you know you have struck gold. Not only because her voice is very special, but also because it reveals a strong personality with great professionalism. In short – a solid artist.

This impression is strengthened when you listen to the large variation of her songs. Gin writes all her songs alone or together with colleagues. Everything from beautiful ballads like Hallelujah and Dying Day to powerful rock music like Oh My and Man Like That. Swinging country as in Sweet Hell and catchy folk rock as in Devil In Me. If those are the right labels.

Gin’s first album, an EP also titled Extended Play, came in 2008. The record includes the personal Hallelujah, which Gin wrote as a tribute to her father after his death. Since then she has released three full length albums – Holy Smoke, Gravel & Wine, and Blood To Bone – and a number of singles. I really like all songs on the EP and the two first full length albums. Not a single weak entry. Buy is highly recommended – as is attending one of her live performances. When Gin toured in Europe 2013 we saw her in a memorable performance at the small club Strom in Munich.

Image from YouTube

However, I took me some time to come to terms with the third full length album Blood to Bone. I immediately liked the songs and the arrangements better on the first two, and after listening briefly to the third I turned my attention to other artists and other kinds of music. But while updating this post I realise that I should have given it more time. It did not immediately appeal to me as much as the previous, but it wins by further listening.

Although I appreciate all songs on the EP and Gin’s two first full length albums, the ballads are my favourites. From the EP, of course Hallelujah, and from the first full length album the mighty New Revolution and the more low key Golden Ship and Dying Day. And also Too Late For Lovers. But they do not stand out much from the rest. Everything is really good, and the albums are cleverly composed. On the second album, Gravel & Wine, Gin explores our dark side with the help of some unfamiliar and interesting sound images.

Soon Gin’s fourth album Ivory will arrive. The release is planned for March 2018. Gin won my heart with her first albums, and the fact that one album did not immediately ”work” for me will certainly not prevent me from waiting for her fourth album with great expectations!


More

Dying Day

Oh My

Man Like That

Sweet Hell

Devil In Me

New Revolution

Golden Ship

Too Late for Lovers

Black Sheep

Don’t Stop

Black Parade

Written In The Water

______

This post is a translated and developed version of my post in Swedish, October 2012. Read also about Gin in my post Personality and Music Preferences. There you will find an explanation of why I like Gin’s music, as well as music of quite different characters.

And read in my post Planets that Meet how you might interpret the fact that you sometimes do not like an artist’s recent album as much as the previous.

 

Personality and music preferences

How can it be that I like so different kinds of music?

Why do I like a special kind of music? And why do I like a specific song or a singer? And how can it be that I like so different kinds of music? Here is a story where I try to use some basic notions about needs to understand my own music preferences. If you get inspired you can continue and apply these notions on your own music preferences.


The theory

Let’s assume that we as human beings have needs of identification and of compensation. To satisfy the need of identification we might have a predisposition to search for persons, ideas, cultural expressions etc. that we can relate to in terms of qualities that resemble important traits of our own personality. This process does not have to be conscious. On the contrary it probably most of the time goes on although we are unaware of it. In finding friends and partners this might mean that the same kind of personalities is attracted by one another, maybe in order to build smooth relations with few frictions. In terms of music it means that my personality and the music I like are in harmony and speak the same “language” in terms of emotions, expression and ideas. I feel at home with this kind of music.

The need of compensation means instead that we in fact also have a predisposition to search for and relate to persons, ideas, cultural expressions etc. that are different from the predominant traits of our personality. The aim might be to help the weaker sides of our personality to balance our dominant traits. Again, we might very well be unaware of this process. In finding friends and partners this might mean that different kinds of personalities are drawn to one another, maybe in order to build relations with access to different kinds of predominant traits. In terms of music it means that I might like music that helps weaker sides of my personality to come forward once in a while.

Actually I believe that we have both kinds of needs. Sometimes we need more of resemblance and identification; sometimes we need more of difference and compensation. But if we almost always search for resemblance and identification it might be because we are afraid of difference and change, and if we almost always search for difference and compensation it might be because we are dissatisfied with our own personality. At its best the two drives are in balance over a period of time.


Me

In rough terms, who am I? I believe I am a more introverted than extroverted person, more thoughtful and serious than action oriented and funny, more melancholy than cheerful. But underneath my thoughtful appearance there are strong emotions. And beauty and aesthetics is important to me. Sometimes more important than function.

Of course there is much more to say, and there are lots of reservations to such a brief characterization, but let’s see what it can be used for in terms of analysing music preferences.


The artists

So far I have been talking about music preferences, but in relation to Musik.pm it is often more interesting to talk about the individual artists and their music. The charisma and expression of the artists are often important in the music I like. So, in fact, what I am trying to capture might be resemblances and differences between personalities – the personalities of the artists expressed in their music and my own personality. Whether an artist’s personality in music also is his or hers personality outside music, I do not know. When getting closer to an artist you sometimes realise that he or she in terms of personal traits probably is more varied than the expressions of their songs. They, as we, of course have predominant and weaker sides of their personalities.

Below you will find five of my favourite artists and one favourite genre. By means of quotes from earlier posts and a few music videos I try to show why they have become favourites of mine. If you want to read more about the artists and enjoy some more of their music videos you can of course go to the original posts.


Diana Krall

Source: YouTube

I have no difficulties to identify the traits of Diana Krall’s music that attracts me. It is spelled out in my post about Diana in March, 2017, original posted in Swedish in May 2013, telling the story of how I found her in the beginning of the new millennium. The serious and intense expression, manifested by her slowing down even already slow ballads, was in perfect harmony with the basic traits of my own personality. After a couple of hectic decades in life this was what I then really needed, not only as a relaxation but also as a meeting with my own basic mentality.

One day at the beginning of the new millennium, I heard on the radio a Burt Bacharach song in an interpretation that was new to me. The vocalist had a deep and sensual voice, and she sang slowly with a strong sense of presence and with a serious emotional expression. And then there was the beautiful and restrained piano. The expression of this interpretation reached something in me that hadn’t been reached for a long time. The song was The Look of Love, and the singer was Diana Krall. Right there in life I was struck by music again, and it was Diana Krall who hit me. (From the post Diana Krall, 18 March, 2017)

The Look Of Love

I’ve Got You Under My Skin


Keren Ann

Source: YouTube

I can also easily see why Keren Ann’s music is very close to my heart – at this instant in life probably the music that is closest. As an introverted person I need refuges in life, and the seriousness of Keren Ann matches my need for taking things seriously. And the sheer beauty of Keren Ann’s melodies, and her singing them accompanied by her own guitar, satisfy my needs of exactly that – beauty. Her melancholy satisfies my need of both seriousness and beauty. Again, you can find the base for these conclusions expressed in my first post about Keren Ann and her music from 8 June, 2016.

The biography presented on Keren Ann’s current website starts with chapter 7, referring to her seventh album. This is not where I am in terms of listening. I have briefly listened to all seven albums and have found many beautiful songs, but I keep coming back to “chapter 2” and “chapter 3” – the second and the third album – La Disparition (2002) and Not Going Anywhere (2003). On these albums Keren Ann’s musical expression of soft melancholy and intimacy is like a refuge, a sanctuary I do not want to leave for a long time.

But it does not end here. Keren Ann’s later music sometimes has a more rough expression. Can I follow her into that terrain? I think I can. This is what I wrote in my post Alone with Keren Ann after seeing her two concerts in Paris, May 18-19, 2017, trying to describe my feelings towards the more rough parts of her concerts.

The guitar she uses is an electric one. The way she plays it does not contribute to the soft side of her music. On the contrary, the strong and sometimes forceful electric sounds stand out in sharp contrast to the soft guitar from her early career. At first I am a little bit disappointed, but after some time I acknowledge that this is an alley which Keren Ann wants to explore, and then I want to follow her. I trust her and she seems so much to enjoy what she is doing. Her usual shy expression is still there, but it is mingled with happiness for the strong music she is making.

So Keren Ann provides music that I can relate also to my search for compensation and development. It is as if she herself gives an example of the second part of my theory, the search for difference, change and development. Maybe it is also her search.

But after some thought I realize something. The guitar fools me. Although the guitar is rough, that rough expression is still harboured in Keren Ann’s general expression of melancholy. I can recognize myself in that. Could it be that whatever Keren Ann (and I) do, it is always within a framework of melancholy?

La corde et les chaussons

Not Going Anywhere

It Ain´t No Crime / In Your Back


Fado

Domingos Mira, Joana Almeida and João Vinhas at Conserva-te

What about my love of the Portuguese fado then? Where does it come from? Although fado and I come from different cultures, and I learned to love Fado only a couple of years ago, I actually believe my love comes from identification and resemblance. In the post I wrote after our fado excursion in Portugal last year the resemblance theme is to me obvious – the beauty, the seriousness, the emotional involvement, the concentration of the expression. The excursion started at the fado restaurant Casa da Marinquinhas in Porto. Here are some quotes from my post A Fado Experience, 11 November, 2016.

And then one of the most beautiful combinations of instruments – the Portuguese and the classical guitar – starts to colour the background of the Fado song. Soft, but nevertheless energetic. They do so with a delicate fabric of tones in which it is sometimes difficult to distinguish who is contributing which thread. Still, the different sounds of the two guitars are very distinct.

After a short and beautiful guitar introduction, often with a bittersweet colour, the fadista starts to sing. And the song is not less beautiful. The fadista tells the emotional story (most often a sad one) with closed eyes, and he/she does not open them until a storm of applause releases the tension of the fadista and the audience. There is never a second of silence between the song and the applause. It is as if the concentration of the strong emotions that the fadista and the musicians create gets its release when the last almost forceful tones of the guitars and the fadista are hit.

And later about me as an emotional man.

I find that the male Fado expression communicates a more sincere representation of genuine male emotions than the ones I have experienced in many other cultural expressions. I can in Fado find a home for my own emotions, not only as a “male guest” in the female representation of Fado, but also when members of my own sex interpret Fado.

And finally again about the beauty of concentration.

In general, the strong emotions of Fado, and the common focus on the experience at the Fado houses, fit my personality and temperament very well. The emotions that the music creates are felt inside every Fado house guest, but those feelings are not expressed during the Fado song. We all know that we share the experience, but we do not devalue it by comments, chit chat or eating.

On the surface it might not be obvious that fado is congenial with my personality, but it hits me right in the heart.

Casa do fado

Carminho: Lágrimas do Céu        (A post about Carminho here.)


Gin Wigmore

Source: YouTube

And now for something completely different. We are heading for three examples of artists who with their charisma and their music bring me something that balances my main personal traits.

First out is Gin Wigmore from New Zeeland. Although not quite accurate, the simplest way to characterize Gin is that she is a rock star.  On the whole her music, her voice, her looks, her tattoos, her video productions under-pin the rock star image – but still, underneath all that there is also something else. Her ballads are beautiful, and after having seen her perform live in a small club I must say that she seems to be a very nice person – not at all the depraved rock star type. And what gives me reason to provide a reservation to the rock star characterization might be a bridge to the predominant traits of my personality.

But although there are these deviations from the rock star image, Gin with her music is a person that very much enriches me by being quite something else than my predominant personal traits. Although Gin’s music, her voice and appearance are far from the music above, it gives me happiness. It does so by compensating the introverted and thoughtful traits of my personality – and thereby helps the weaker sides of my personality to come forward.

I do not quote my Swedish post about Gin Wigmore from 2012 here, but there are lots of music videos there to prove my case! Here are two of them.

Sweet Hell

Too Late for Lovers

(After the publication of this post about personality and music preferences, I have updated and translated the Swedish post about Gin Wigmore into English. You can find the new post here.)


Zaz

Source: YouTube

My next example is a young woman whose personality even less resembles my predominant traits. In the post I wrote about her in 2012 you can easily see why she is an artist who richly compensates those traits. In my first contact with her music videos I just couldn´t have enough.

At 00.02 on June 14, 2011, I received a music tip by e-mail from a friend in Germany. It took me a few days until I had time to investigate it, but as soon as that was done, a new great music personality made an entrance into our home – the young French singer Isabelle Geoffroy, better known under the name of Zaz. There are plenty of live performances with her on YouTube, and I must admit that I the weekend 18-19 of June spent many, many hours searching for her music, and time after time enjoyed what I found.

Zaz is a singer with great musicality and a lovely, somewhat hoarse voice. She is also equipped with a lot of positive energy and a large measure of personal and natural charm that unites with the musical expression. No choreographer seems to have given Zaz advice on how to perform on a stage. Only her musical pleasure of performing and singing shapes her bodily language. It is irresistible. Someone has said that she needs to be disciplined as a performer to be able to perform an entire show, but I wonder if that medicine can make her better than what you can see now. (Translation to English of my Swedish post Zaz, 7 December, 2012)

Join me in enjoying two of the videos from my post about Zaz. This is far from the main traits of my personality, but I love it.

From Montmartre: Les passants

From La Fête de la Chanson Française – Je veux and Le long de la route


Lucy Woodward

Source: LW

And last, a singer who I found in February 2014, Lucy Woodward. In the beginning I especially came to enjoy some of her early recordings where I apprehended something of a cabaret style and in some of the songs also an R&B influence. But regardless of genre it was Lucy’s charisma built on energy and humour that appealed to me. She made me happy. Again, humour and energy was needed to balance my serious and thoughtful traits.

This is the introduction to my Swedish post about Lucy, originally from 2014, later included in an English post 2017.

Lucy Woodward is a young American music entertainer with a great feeling for jazz, funk, soul, R&B and other related genres. The reason why you should call her an entertainer, and not just a singer, is her ability to engage both herself and the audience in an entertaining mix of musicality, soul and humour. This is something you have to experience. Attempts to describe her in words will not do her justice. Therefore I stop trying here, and instead refer you to the links below.

And these are some of the songs that at first made me fall for Lucy Woodward and her music. She has now musically moved on, but she is still a favourite.

Please Baby Please

Use What I Got

Babies


You

So what about you? Has this post made you think about your personality, the music you enjoy and why you like it? If so, what are your thoughts and conclusions?

 

The Conserva-te Experience

Domingos Mira, Joana Almeida and João Vinhas at Conserva-te

Lisbon November 17, 2017

It is the third day of our fado excursion in Lisbon. During the week we visit fado venues every day, and the venue this night is a fairly new one – Conserva-te in the Madragoa area. A Portuguese friend living in Sweden has advised us to go there, and she has even helped us to book a table. We take a bus from our hotel, and the last ten minutes we walk. Compared to the busy streets of Lisbon it is a big contrast to come to this neighbourhood. The small streets we walk to come to Conserva-te are almost empty. But with the help of GPS it is easy to find the place.

We step into the small restaurant and are welcomed by a young man at the door. We tell him our name and that we have a reservation. He obviously has already guessed who we are, and he introduces himself. “I am Domingos.” Our friend has told us that Domingos is the owner of the place and that he also plays the Portuguese guitar.

We are invited to our table and we order a menu with lots of small dishes and red wine. This means that we leave all other decisions to the staff. It proves to be a very wise decision. Although not expensive the wine is nice, and small very nice dishes keep coming to our table during the night. Domingos tells us that Conserva-te is built around the concept of music, food and drinks emanating from the Portuguese speaking parts of the world. The language that unites these countries has given way to mutual exchange of cultural expressions, and this is what Domingos wants to acknowledge and promote in music, food and drinks.

Domingos Mira

In terms of music this means that the guests at Conserva-te of course can enjoy the Portuguese fado, but also for instance Cap Verdean Morna or Brazilian Bossa Nova. What you will hear when you visit Conserva-te depends on the performing musicians that particular night. The night we visit Conserva-te is dedicated solely to Fado.

Domingos is passionate about his idea, and he would like to create new places built on the same concept as the original Conserva-te. He talks in an entrepreneurial way, but his entrepreneurial drive is not about earning money regardless of business. His passion rests with the idea of Conserva-te.

As a young man Domingos studied to become an engineer, and he was employed as one for some years. But he was also a good guitar player, and when labour market was troublesome he decided to go for music and his idea about promoting the cultural expressions from the Portuguese speaking parts of the world. It is not uncommon that fado musicians start their own fado restaurant, and Domingos is a musician in this tradition. However, it might be that it is not as common nowadays that it used to be.

Domingos speaking so passionately about developing his idea makes me ask if he rather wants to be a business manager than a musician. But Domingos does not want to choose between the two, and I hope that he will not have to. Domingos plays the Portuguese guitar very well, and his passion for the Conserva-te concept deserves success.

Domingos’ concept makes me remember how I myself found the Portuguese fado. I wanted to get to know Brazilian music better and, as I often do, I used the associative serendipity of the search engines of Internet to find my way to new musicians. And at one point the Internet, sensitive to cultural connections, forwarded me to a Portuguese fado song. I was intrigued by the beautiful melody, the concentrated and strong expression of the fadista – and the beautiful guitars. From that start I have made fado an important part of my music listening. So Brazil is actually the cause for us being in Lisbon, and tonight at Domingos’ place.

What about the fado then? We have heard from the well informed fado guide who travels with us that tonight’s fadista Joana Almeida is a very good one, although only 19 years old. After a while we see a very young woman step into Conserva-te, and we conclude from her youthful apperance and the way she is dressed that it must be her. It takes some time before it’s time for the first performance, and we see her sitting at the back of the small restaurant fingering her mobile. She appears so very young. Can she really sing fado in the mature way that we believe is important to the fado expression?

And then it is time. Domingos Mira, Joana Almeida and João Vinhas place themselves in the only free space that is large enough for the three of them to perform in – a couple of square meters right in front of, and very close to, the entrance door. Domingos makes sure that no one is about to enter before they start.

Domingos Mira, Joana Almeida and João Vinhas

Domingos and João starts with a beautiful traditional guitar introduction, and then it is Joana. And from one second to another there is an astonishing transformation of her character. She closes her eyes, straightens her body and concentrates – and then she sings fado strong and beautifully. She now radiates maturity and confidence.

During the night Joana performs four times. There is no other fadista, which to us is unusual. But our impression of Joana does not change, and we have no wish for another fadista to perform. Joana’s singing is of high quality through all performances and songs.

What happened when Joana started to sing? Did the melancholic fado lend her maturity while she was singing? Or did the fado make me interpret the singing Joana as a more mature woman than she really is? Or, vice versa, was I maybe misinterpreting her youth before she started to sing? Is she really so young in mind that I concluded from her appearance before the performance?

Whatever the explanation, the combination of Joana Almeida and fado is beautiful. I feel privileged to have the possibility to see this young fadista develop in the years to come.

And unfortunately I will have to wait until I can enjoy her singing again. She has so far not recorded a CD of her own, and I have not been able to find any video recordings that do her justice. So there are no YouTube links in this post. But obviously there must be some nice YouTube videos with Joana soon. When I find them I will update this blog post with those YouTube links and also post them on Musik.pm on Facebook.

But you who live in or visit Lisbon can of course enjoy Joana performing live. One very nice place to do that is at Domingos’ place, Conserva-te.

 

A Lisbon week of Fado

Lisbon

Lisbon November 15-21, 2017

Lisbon is not only the capital of Portugal; it is also the capital of fado music. The tradition is rich and there are more than a thousand fadistas and guitarristas singing and playing at numerous fado places. My wife and I have visited Lisbon twice in order to experience fado, and we will certainly come back. We have recently returned from the last visit – a one week fado excursion.

This time we travelled together with a small group in order to access the expertise of the group’s fado guide, Ulf Bergqvist. Ulf is the author of a very solid introduction to fado in Swedish – a story about the influences, the history, the fadistas/guitarristas, the fado houses etc. Ulf’s book is not only valuable as an introduction. With all the examples it also serves very well as a book of reference for the experienced fado lover. (FADO, en vägvisare till musiken och musikerna, 2013)

Ulf composed a nice mix of fado houses and fadistas for the group to enjoy. Since the decisions about performing fadistas particular nights sometimes were made as late as the day of the performance the program had to be flexible. Members of the group could also influence the program by individual wishes. One of the nights the group did not go to a fado restaurant but to a concert with Ana Laíns – and another night my wife and I went on our own to a small fado house, following the advice of a Portuguese friend living in Sweden.

These are the five fado houses my wife and I visited – together with the group and on our own.
Parreirinha de Alfama
Fado em Si
Conserva-te
Tasca do Jaime da Graça
Adega Machado
And then there was the concert at the Museu Nacional de Arqueologia.

Of course we did not have the possibility to record the performances on video, but I nevertheless want to give you a notion of what we experienced during the week. Below you will find music videos with some of the individual fadistas – although with other songs than the ones we heard and with two exceptions not at the fado houses where we met them. Nevertheless – enjoy!

Read also A Fado Experience – reflections from our first fado excursion. 

 

 

More

Joana Amendoeira: Eu Quis Demais

Sérgio da Silva: Canto o Fado

Joana Melo: Fado Mayer

André Vaz: Maria da Madragoa

Cláudia Duarte: Sou do Fado/Fado Loucura

Cláudia Duarte: Fado em cinco estilos

João Soeiro: Da janela do meu quarto

Ana Sofia Varela: Fado Cravo – Dá-me O Braço Anda Daí

Pedro Moutinho: Fado Um Copo de Sol

Pedro Moutinho: Leva-me Contigo

Ana Laíns – Quatro Caminhos

Ana Laíns – Não sei porque te foste embora