Saturday, 11 June 2011


“A rose is the visible result of an infinitude of complicated goings on in the bosom of the earth and in the air above, and similarly a work of art is the product of strange activities in the human mind.” - Clive Bell

It was a beautiful, fine day today and perfect for some gardening. And so it was. Alas, my hands are blistered, scratched and cut from the serious pruning and weeding that took most of the day, however, it was all worth it as the garden looks all the better for it. Most of our rose bushes are getting a little old, which is sad as we have a large and varied selection. I like a rose to possess fragrance as well as look beautiful, so most of our roses are both fragrant and also every shade available: White, yellow, gold, orange, all shades of red, burgundy, many pinks,  and lavender. However, we need to do some serious culling, taking out the oldest and start replacing them with new bushes in the spring.

And as we are speaking of roses, here is some world music performed by “Rosa Negra” (Black Rose). Rosa Negra is a five-piece “novo fado” group, a variation on the age-old traditional Portuguese genre of the fado (popular songs of love, loss and fate). This is a flexible genre that allows the influence of other music to seep through and assert themselves. This piece from 2006, “Fado Ladino”, has significant Asian and Arabic influences that infiltrate the familiar Iberian, but not enough that the music gives itself up totally to foreign genres and loses its natural Portuguese soul.

The lush string instrumentation is amplified by trumpet, piano, accordion and percussion, which together creates a sensual and dramatic tapestry of emotions and textures. But the heart of the group is the vocals of Carmo the lead songstress, whose interpretation of the typically gloomy lyrics (intense songs about love, loss of love, longing for past, and fado itself) are, theatrical and utterly captivating. Her navigation of that fine line between the ancient and the new is quite compelling.

Here is the gist of the lyrics:
“A warm breeze inside me blows and raises me towards the East. Is it real or a mirage on the road? Will it have an end? Perhaps the wind hides my destiny behind the shadows of loneliness… Fado Ladino, my heart is like a black rose, waiting amongst the delights of the garden. A rose in an oasis of eternal hope, a feeling of jasmine memories in my heart.”


  1. Interesting meld of styles and a very good singer. Appreciated the lyrics translation.