food for thought #10

Fado is the musical genre that people most associate with Portugal and especially Lisbon. However, let me tell you, it doesn´t mean everyone here listens to Fado. 

When I was young, I didn’t find Fado to be the most appealing music to listen to. I remember to have this image of an old lady, Amália Rodrigues, all dressed in black, with a shawl and crying through melodies. Not easy for a 16 year’s old kid, right?

Through the years, I believe I learned to respect Fado and to understand its value. It is amazing to travel around the world and listen to Fado and feel myself back to my hometown. It is something special and unique, I must admit.

Nowadays I still don’t listen to the most classical fadistas (fado singers) but I’ve discovered a lot of new projects that mix Fado with contemporary music. Rita Vian is one of those artists and I’m addicted to her songs: not only the melodies but her lyrics are something truly peculiar. Hope you like it!

Dissecting a Tokarczuk’s novel

Since the start of the year, I read 3 books: it doesn´t mean I’m reading less than previous years, I just do it slowly and experience the days (and its events) with the authors and their stories and characters.

I first discovered Olga Tokarczuk in ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’, a novel that portrays a polish village through its peculiar inhabitants, more precisely an old lady that dedicates herself to translating William Blake’s poetry and finding conspiracy theories in a series of deaths. A must as you may imagine!

Tokarczuk’s way of writing is rare and remarkable. For some reason she won the Nobel Prize of Literature! Recently I read ‘Flights’ and, I must say, this novel just confirmed how special Tokarczuk is. 

Particularly in times like these, when, due to a pandemic, travel is impossible, to read a book based on the idea of mobility is refreshing and, in this particular case, surprising. 

Furthermore, some coincidences made me feel like Tokarczuk was interpreting the reality and explaining it to me: there was this particular series of episodes dedicated to anatomy and dissection that, wondrously, I had to personally follow and put into action… in the book! 

Let me explain: due to a printing error, my copy of the novel had some pages in the wrong order lol first I didn´t understood but then it were so many pages that I couldn´t follow the story and contacted the publishers who confirmed the error in this particular edition. 

The publishers promised me a new book sent by post (which, by the way, hasn’t arrived yet!) but, because I was really into the novel, I decided to keep reading the book and try to reorder it. 

Basically, at the same time I was reading some Tokarczuk paragraphs about dissected body parts to be conserved in formalin, I was cutting pages and reordering the body of the book, following some logic based on my reading instincts. 

I have to admit, the book itself is in a complete mess (starting with the cover that you can see in my photo above), yet these coincidences gave it all an intriguing context that made me adore the novel even more. 

After this proof of serendipity, and before you leave me to buy online Tokarczuk’s ‘Flights’, allow me a final recommendation: ‘It’s a Sin’ was one the best series I discovered recently: it’s about the LGBT community and the first AIDS’ reported cases, the fear and the deaths it caused.

This series is very emotional and, even in some episodes, kind of tough to deal and follow, but it’s a great testimony of the boost of a disease that, just like nowadays’ pandemic, took the society upside down and was a huge challenge to the science community.

Regarding my last cultural discoveries, let me know your opinions and recommendations in the comments down below.

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21 responses to “food for thought #10

  1. Adorei andares a ler o livro a tentar encontrar a ordem em que foi escrito. É um belo exercício 🙂 Espero ler Olga Tokarczuk em breve. Obrigada pelas boas sugestões e bom fim de semana 🙂

    • Foi uma actividade digna do nosso laboratório ahah ainda por cima estava constantemente em histórias sobre o corte e costura de partes do corpo… quase frankenstein lol lê sim, vale muito a pena, o livro ‘conduzir um arado…’ é mais fácil de seguir, o ‘viagens’ é mais experimental, mas maravilhoso 🙂 e agr mandei vir o ‘outrora e outros tempos’ 🙂 de tempos a tempos há-de sair passagens do ‘viagens’ no abc 🙂 bom fim de semana! PedroL

  2. Eu li Viagens no final do ano passado e confesso que fiquei muito dividida. Houve partes do livro que adorei e com as quais me identifiquei muitíssimo, outras que me deixaram intrigada, talvez até demasiado, por não as compreender, apesar de reler várias vezes… pergunto-me se a minha edição tem o mesmo erro que tua? haha penso que não. Acho que tem mesmo que ver com a forma de escrever dela. Foi o primeiro livro que li da autora, por isso não tenho como comparar.

    • ahah os problemas no meu livro surgem ali entre as páginas 160~180, precisamente quando ela fala de uma criatura que se dedicava a dissecações e afins… talvez o ‘conduz o teu arado…’ seja mais fácil de seguir, tendo em conta a estrutura mais de romance, mas este surpreendeu-me que, apesar do caos, consegui encontrar alguma linearidade, talvez por, pelo meio, me ter dedicado a refazê-lo 😡

      entretanto comprei também o ‘outrora e outros tempos’, mas ainda não comecei, decidi dar um tempo para poder respirar lol mas estou desejoso 🙂 a senhora Tokarczuk conquistou-me!

      bom fim de semana 🙂
      PedroL

  3. I have to say I was not a fan of Fado until I went to Lisbon. Even though my stay there was too short, the music really takes hold. Perhaps it did not appeal to you when you were younger is because you had not really had the emotional experiences yet. In English, songs like ‘Yesterday’ by the Beatles, is a definite generational test – when I was young I sang it because the lyrics were simple and the melody appealing. By the time I was 30, however, it took on a whole new dimension. It has a lot more emotion when I sing it now…And I do apologize for comparing a pop song to the deep cultural identity that is fado but Anglo musical cultural is fair shallow.
    Love your blog.

    • hey hey, thank you so much for such kind words about this space, I’m truly glad to know how you appreciate my blog, that’s really important for me to know and one of the reasons to keep doing what I like the most eheh

      about music, I know what you mean. in fact, there are songs that I know for ages and only after a few years I feel something about them. and yeah, I agree with you, it’s probably due to lack of experiences and, I would add, with the time, we get exposed to more and more music and feelings and events, etc

      I personally feel nowadays I’m a much richer person thanks to all the experiences and events I had the luck to live in the last years 🙂 that’s really important 🙂

      have a wonderful weekend, warm regards,
      PedroL

  4. Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead sounds like an incredibly interesting book. The title alone is catchy. And it is cool that you had to work on your book, too. I hope it was not too big of a hassle. Seems like a fun experience though.

  5. Very interesting post! I have never actually listened to fado, but I have heard of it, of course. I feel like in some ways it resembles flamenco, also because of the fact that not many people actually listen to it and enjoy it. But I really liked the more “modern” twist of it that you shared! 😊

    • I also prefer this modern twist 🙂 but maybe if I get more used I will be ‘able’ to listen more traditional Fado eheh thank you so much for your comment Juliette, wish you a great week 🙂 PedroL

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