Thursday, March 25, 2010

What does Lusophone music mean to you? How do you feel it? - By Philip Graham, Author

I have always loved Lusophone music, beginning with my discovery, decades ago, of the Brazilian singers Milton Nascimento and Djavan. But my deepest connection to the music began when, in the wake of my parents' deaths in the early 1990s, I first heard (at a Barnes & Noble listening booth) the Portuguese band Madredeus. The saudade of this music, I think without my consciously realizing it at the time, helped me with my mourning, helped me understand that a type of music could become a kind of emotional homeland, offering a different kind of citizenship. Its beauties led me and my family to live for a year in Lisbon

Lusophone music is virtually the only music I listen to now, whether it originates in Portugal, Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola or Mozambique. It's a music of great emotional complexity, a music in which joy doesn't deny the existence of sadness, and sadness doesn't erase the possibility of happiness. The multiple dimensions of its lovely ache, which both heals and wounds in stunning, acrobatic balance, has become a part of me.

About Philip Graham:

Besides being one of my brilliant sources on Lusophone music (it was from him that I learned about OqueStrada, Norberto Lobo, etc), Philip Graham is the author of short story collections, essays, prose poems, a memoir and a novel. His work has been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, North American Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times and many other venues. His series of dispatches from Lisbon, which originally appeared at McSweeney's, have been recently published in an expanded edition as The Moon, Come to Earth (University of Chicago Press). Julia Keller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has written "The Moon, Come to Earth is so enchanting: It dance and sighs. It twitches and hums and stumbles and then rights itself with a winning smile. It's like a living thing, filled with desire and uncertainty and joy and regret."

For more information and the latest news and updates, visit his website.

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