What is the best European Portuguese music?


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Hi Molly, I see that you’ve had enough music to listen to for ages but I’ll repeat Rui’s recommendation of the group Madredeus with the singer Teresa Salgueiro.

Even if you can’t translate the words on this video it’s great to watch and hear how the words are pronounced : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzmElxZ3pNk

I now have 6 of their CDs but my favourite has to be Ecos na Catedral - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmB9uEjX4oE. A Portuguese friend helped me translate the lyrics. The song is beautiful but sooo sad.

You can also read the comments on the youtube clips in Portuguese, which are interesting.

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Hi Molly again.

Here is another tune with a lovely video clip. I heard it a few times to understand it and I was hearing it my head all day!


I love this! Thanks @patrickmcmahon5544 ! Thank you for the other suggestions too. It’s great to have some new music to listen to while we’re all stuck at home… :mask:

Olà @Joseph, eu adoro o grupo Madredeus, especialmente a cantora Teresa Salgueiro e, recentemente encontrei esta canção sem instrumentos (quase) 'Senhora do Almortão.

Teresa Salgueiro canto-a lindamente e parece que é uma canção tradicional mas não posso descobrir nada sobre a canção excepto a letra em português. Estou a esperar que poderias ayudar-me com a minha tradução:

Em português:

Senhora do Almortão
ó minha linda raiana
virai costas a Castela
não queirais ser castelhana

Senhora do Almortão
a vossa capela cheira
cheira a cravos, cheira a rosas
cheira a flor de laranjeira

senhora do Almortão
eu pró ano não prometo
que me morreu o amor
ando vestida de preto

My translation:

Senhora do Almortão
oh my beautiful queen (raiana = rainha?)
turn your back on Spain/Castile
you don’t want to be Castilian (my book has queirais as present subjunctive for vós)

Senhora do Almortão
your chapel smells
smells of carnations, smells of roses
smells of flowers of the orange tree

Senhora do Almortão
I won’t promise that next year (pró is proximo?)
my love died (will have died?)
I am/go/walk dressed in black

Do you happen to know this song? I am guessing that Senhora do Almortão is a saint to whom she is praying for the safety of her lover, during a war with Spain.

Although the last verse seems very pessimistic if she is already wearing black and he is not yet dead.

If you, or anyone else, can throw some light on this I would greatly appreciate it.

Muito obrigado, Patrick

@patrickmcmahon5544, I’ve mostly heard the song sung by Dulce Pontes, but I’m also familiar with this version by Madredeus and the one by Zeca Afonso. I knew nothing about its story or meaning, but I googled it.

It is indeed a traditional song, dedicated to Nossa Senhora do Almortão (Our Lady of Almortão). Almortão/Almurtão derives from murta (myrtle), because the saint supposedly appeared on a field covered with myrtles. That field was/is in a little place called Idanha-a-Nova, in Alentejo, which borders Spain. That border region is nicknamed “raia”.

So, that already explains why she’s “raiana”, why she’s supposed to turn her back on Castille/Spain, only inches away from there, and why her chapel smells nice, because myrtles have a pleasant orange-like scent.

Now, the last few lines have to do with the fact that when people are mourning, they’re not supposed to take part in the religious festivities dedicated to her. So, they say “eu pró ano não prometo” = “eu para o ano não prometo”, which means that next year they most likely won’t pay their respects. We have an expression in Portuguese, “pagar promessa”, that would literally translate to fulfill a promise made to God/saints/etc in return for whatever you ask of them. So, that line could be related to that expression.

If you fancy a medieval party banger, played with the traditional Gaita Galega, Roncos do Diabo by Gaiteiros de Lisboa is a shout. Dazkarieh’s Na Boca do Lobo is similarly played on a gaita, but it’s a more sombre tune until about the 3 minute mark. Definitely what the lads at Aljubarrota would’ve been getting lively to

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Muito Obrigado @Joseph for your information.
I did google Senhora do Almortão and I kept finding Idanha-a-Nova; now I know why, and also raiana is not a misprint for rainha!

I also found a clip of Madredeus entitled A Vaca De Fogo (the cow of fire) which I googled and discovered to be about an old pagan tradition of burning the effigy of a cow. Muito interesante.

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April should have been the month of my first visit to Portugal this year, not this year though. The words of a song I would like to know something about was known in England as April Dream. The recording I have been listening to is Coimbra by Amália Rodrigues, it has the same melody as April Dream but very different words. Amália is singing about the many attributes of this lovely city, I understand all of the words but am puzzled by one line ’ o lente é uma canção — the lens is a song — is there a famous lens associated with Coimbra? Also who was the beautiful Inês?

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@davidcowling949, “lente” is an archaic term for professor. Coimbra is indissociable from its university, which is why the song references many things related to it (“lente”, “faculdade”, “livro”, “doutores”). The beautiful Inês is Inês de Castro. The story of her tragic love affair with Prince Pedro (and later King Pedro I) is very famous in Portugal. The prince’s father, the king, had her murdered in what is now the Quinta das Lágrimas, in Coimbra, and the legend says that she shed tears of blood that can still be seen in the stones at the base of the fountain on site. The full story on Wikipedia

Thank you for the reply Joseph. That makes the song even more fascinating, I must find out more about Inês when I next visit Coimbra. Although she has been dead for twenty years Amália still lives on thruough her wonderful songs. There are other fantastic Fado singers, but to me she is still the best.

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You’re welcome, @davidcowling949. After so long, Amália is still the standard :slight_smile:

Just for a small, but related, diversion, I wonder if anyone is familiar with Cesaria Evora, who sings in Portuguese Cape Verdean criole. In this song, entitled “Velocidade,” can you hear the Portuguese words? I know it’s not European Portuguese, per se, but interesting, nevertheless. :slightly_smiling_face: She had a beautiful voice.


Another Cape Verde singer, Mayra Andrade, was featured some time back on a different learning platform. It seems she’s often compared to Cesaria Evora.
She’s widely travelled and speaks perfect French, Portuguese, etc.

Here is a clip from youtube and the lyrics can easily be googled. She sings quite clearly and I understand that the Cape Verde accent is clearer (to us) than mainland Portuguese.

I met up with one of my friends that I hadn’t seen in a long while 4 weeks ago. He was going to Cape Verde the following week with his wife. Considering the coronavirus outbreak erupted shortly afterwards, he may still be there. Could be an awful lot worse!!


Hi, @patrickmcmahon5544! Nice music! Thanks for posting it. She is very easy to understand, mainly because she isn’t singing in criole and her Portuguese does sound cleaner/clearer to me, as you say. Something about her voice quality and style reminds me a bit of Jain, if you are familiar with her (although she isn’t Portuguese). And, this music sounds a bit Brazilian, too–so there are a lot of neat things in her performance! :slightly_smiling_face:

I found recently a wonderful song by Carlos do Carmo that is a marvellous poem, describing the Portuguese culture and life in the past. The music and lyrics create a unique feeling and his strong, powerful performance would be plain without this incomparable articulation…Listen to " No teu poema"!


Thank you @David2019 and @patrickmcmahon5544 for these great Cape Verdean voices :slight_smile: And @chii.lemon.99, when that song out 10 years ago or so, it was such a fever. I could never quite stand it, but it’s impossible to forget it!

Muito obrigada Molly

This is great

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