Mar 17, 2007

The Fado of Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa

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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.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip, Mike. I'll have to check them out.

--JD

historymike said...

Sure, JD.

Music like fado is universal, and you don't need to understand Portuguese to feel the emotion.

historymike said...

BTW - Catarina Cardeal and Mike Siracusa have a CD coming out in May. I look forward to listening to the disc, and I will post a review when I do.

microdot said...

I love Fada! I just saw an evening of fada music in a restaurant/cafe in our chef lieu de canton, Hautefort.
A well preserved town from the middle ages with a very famous chateau, this area isn't very populated but the little cafe really packs people in when they have a musical night.(good music, food, wine and an apero for 16 Euros! a great deal)