A literary and musical journey through the Portuguese language

"Songs to Abbreviate Distances" is an album in which poems from Portuguese speakings authors are transformed in music.

By Virtual Museum of Lusophony

Flags of countries Lusophone (21th Century) by freepikVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Isabella Bretz, a singer-songwriter, Rodrigo Lana, a pianist, and Matheus Félix, a violinist and mandolin player, present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a journey through the Portuguese language”.

This work included eight music poems, each one from a lusophone country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (São Tome and Príncipe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau), Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste).

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

At the time of setting the table - Poem by the Portuguese narrator, poet and playwright José Luís Peixoto.
Illustration by Jackson Abacatu.


GREAT TIME TO SET THE TABLE

at the time of setting the table, there were five of us:
my father, my mother, my sisters
and I. then, my older sister
got married. then, my younger sister
got married. then, my father died.
today,
when it comes to setting the table, there are five of us,
minus my older sister who is
at her house, minus my younger sister more
who’s at her house, minus my
father, minus my widowed mother. for each one
of them there’s an empty seat at this table where
I eat alone. but they will always be here.
when it comes to setting the table, there will always be five.
as long as one of us is alive, we will
always be five.

From The child in ruins

Adapted by Fernando Lopes
Reviewed by Verity Marques



Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

The Surrounding - Poem by the Angolan historian and poet Ana Paula Tavares.
Illustration by Olister Barbosa.


THE SURROUNDING

What color was my bead belt, mom
made by your hands
and strands of your hair
cut at full moon
kept from the cacimbo
in the braided basket of grandma's things

Where's the proverb pot, mom
the three-legged
and broken wing
that you gave me before the big rains
on the day of the engagement

What color was my voice, mom
when he announced the morning by the waterfall
and went down slowly through the days

Where's the promised time to live, mom
if everything is stored and collected in the waiting time
to the fence

Adapted by Fernando Lopes
Reviewed by Verity Marques


Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Spiral - Poem by the Mozambican writer and biologist Mia Couto (pseudonym of António Emílio Leite Couto).
Illustration by Leonora Weissmann.


SPIRAL

In the womb,
the fetus explains itself as Man:
in itself curled
to fit in what will still be.
Body yearning to be a boat,
water dreaming to sleep,
lap in itself found.
In the spiral of the fetus,
the ball of affection
rehearses its first infinite.

From the book Translator of Rains, published by Editorial Caminho.

Adapted by Fernando Lopes


Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Oh if one day - Poem by the Cape Verdean jurist and writer Vera Duarte.
Illustration by Carlos Queiroz.


OH IF ONE DAY

Oh if it rained in October
The land would soak
Corn would grow
And hunger would end

Oh if the corn grew
Hunger would end
The man would smile
And the land would soak

Oh if the man smiled
the land would soak
Hunger would endr
and the rain would fall

Wake up comrades
October rains don't exist
what there is
the tired sweat
of the men who want

what there is
is the constant search
of the abundant bread that will come

men, women, children
in the liberated free homeland
planting a thousand cornfields
will be the rain falling
in our exploited land.

Adapted by Fernando Lopes
Reviewed by Verity Marques


Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Poemar - Poem by the Guinea-Bissau writer, politician and university professor Odete Semedo.
Illustration by Mirele Brant.


"POEMAR"

Poemar is loving the sea
Poemar is to coat the being
With his own thought
Is to bring to the surface
The subconscious
It is to be a seer
It is to be a traveler
It's loving the pain
And giving heat
In the cold of the night.
Poemar is the pleasure in being
It is to be happy
For being able to love
And poemar is love
Poemar is to love
When in the moonlight
The sea and the mind intertwine
When the pain and heat are mixed ...
Poemar is love
It is to love
It is the sea
And it is pain also.


Adapted by Fernando Lopes
Reviewed by Verity Marques


Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Ancestral Poem - Poem by the writer Crisódio T. Araújo., born in Timor-Leste.
Illustration by Anna Luiza Magalhães.


ANCESTRAL POEM

Remember the old days
When you sang purity
In the nudity of your steps and gestures
Or you danced in innocent vanity
To the sound of «babadok».
Remember the darkness of your unrest
And the silence of your expectations,
The rains, the heroic memories,
Telluric miracles,
Ghosts and fears.
Try to remember the ancient heritage of your grandparents
Translated into wisdom
It is true of all.
Remember the harvest festival,
The harmony of your Rites,
The ancient lesson of freedom,
Daughter of nature.
Remember your warrior faith,
Loyalty,
And the tenderness of your home without limits,
On the paths of the unexpected
Or in the improvisation of the definitive sharing.
Remember for the last time
May the history of your ancestry
It's the story of your Motherland ...

Adapted by Fernando Lopes.

Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Demolition Permit - Poem by the Brazilian poet, teacher, philosopher and short story writer Adélia Prado.
Illustration by Thiago Franco.


DEMOLITION PERMIT


What needs to be born
has its root in the floor of an old house.
The floor gives way to your need,
cracks crack in the walls,
the window coffins come off.
What needs to be born
appears in the dream looking for cracks in the ceiling,
streaks of light and air.
I know very well what this dream speaks
and who can you give me
I ask for courage.

Adapted by Fernando Lopes.

Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

The musicians Isabella Bretz, Rodrigo Lana and Matheus Félix present the album “Songs to Abbreviate Distances: a trip through the Portuguese language”. The work were made by eight music poems, each one from a portuguese-speaking country. They are: Adelia Prado (Brazil), Jose Luis Peixoto (Portugal), Mia Couto, (Mozambique), Conceição Lima (Sao Tome and Principe), Vera Duarte Pina (Cape Verde), Odete Semedo (Guinea-Bissau) Ana Paula Tavares (Angola) and Crisódio T. Araújo (Timor-Leste). (21th Century) by Isabella BretzVirtual Museum of Lusophony

Transitory - Poem by Conceição Lima, a poet from São Tomé and Príncipe.
Illustration by Tatiana Cavinato.


TRANSITORY

Transient is this time that divides you
without knowing
transitional waters, broken drums
transitory the night that happens at night
without seeing you

Transient to pale mist the
hide from you
transitory silence occupying spaces
beyond your mouth

the bitter stones
without a license on the dawn coast, transient
the anguish of the bloody words in your hands.
Obstinate pilgrim, who accompanies you besides you?
Emissary of forgotten rivers who hears you?
Oh, the waves of this sea are deaf
suspended
between your fingers and your dream.

Adapted by Fernando Lopes.


Acess the full video: Songs to Abbreviate Distances

Credits: Story

Isabella Bretz is a brazilian singer-songwriter with many foreign influences. Her songs pass through folk/indie territories and are seasoned with her brazilianness. She is one of the producers of Sonora – International Festival of Women Composers and Songwriters, being part of the general coordination and responsible for the editions in Lisbon and Dublin. She graduated in the field of International Relations and works in this area on a voluntary basis.

Rodrigo Lana is a musician and holds a bachelor’s degree in Piano. He has won important awards: BDMG Young Musician 2008 – erudite music; best performer of Brazilian music at the Ituiutaba National Piano Competition – Ricardo Tacuchian 2008; BDMG Young Instrumentalist 2009 – popular music; having also been a finalist for the BDMG Instrumental Music 2009 – compositions and arrangement.

Matheus Félix is a violinist and mandolin player who graduated from UEMG with a Bachelor's degree in violin. He has accompanied the group "Música do Espinhaço" since the beginning of 2010, besides being in a duo with Rodrigo Lana (Diapasão Band) and the "Quarteto 16 Cordas". He is also a conductor, violin and mandolin teacher in projects, music schools and private schools.

Cover photo: Tiago Vieira da Silva


REFERENCES:

Bretz, I. (n.d.). Bio [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.isabellabretz.com/bio/

Félix, M. (2011). Os músicos do Espinhaço - Matheus Félix [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.musicasdoespinhaco.com.br/musicos_4_matheus-felix

Lana, R. (n.d.). Criação e Gravação [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://rodrigolana.com.br/#criacaoegravacao

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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