Left: Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa
While channel-surfing last night I wandered down to Windsor's 89.9 FM and tuned in CBC Radio Two. The local stations were playing a stretch of banal, forgettable music, and I yearned for something meaningful to deliver me from broadcast hell.
Through the speakers in my vehicle there suddenly materialized some of the most beautiful music I have heard in a long time: an ethereal, haunting woman's voice accompanied by an acoustic guitar that struck me as equal parts flamenco and modal jazz.
Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa performed their unique blend of music, which they have dubbed "fado-blues." Fado is a musical form that developed in Portugal, and its songs typically explore mournful themes like betrayal and despair, summed up in the difficult-to-translate Portuguese word saudade.
The pair sometimes bill themselves as a duo called "15," and you can check out the Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa MySpace page to hear a sample of their incredible music. My current favorite among the songs they listed is the melancholy O Gente, especially as Cardeal's aching, lonesome voice trails off to a plaintive whisper.
I find despondent music to be strangely uplifting, as if I can break a period of my own dark days by listening to the misery and grief of those who are farther on the desolate margins of human emotion than I.