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Direct and Rhapsodic, Emotive and Distant

Bida Mariadu [Bad Life]

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Though she was born and raised in Portugal, Lura draws on the traditions of her Cape Verdean heritage. hide caption

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Bida Mariadu"
  • Artist: Lura
  • CD: M'Bem di Fora
  • Genre: World

Though Lura fully discovered her Cape Verdean heritage later in life — her parents were both born there, but she was born and raised in Portugal — her music is deeply rooted within those island traditions. M'Bem di Fora, or "I Come From Far Away," incorporates the rhythms of her parents' homeland, with vibrant stories of love and loss pouring out of every syllable and song.

A thrumming heartbeat opens "Bida Mariadu (Bad Life)," on which a hypnotic melody grabs the listener's attention immediately. Intermixed with the wending, chanting chorus, Lura relates a conversation between a mother and her son, who bemoans the struggles of life: "Mother, I've gone to see life / This sad, bad life." But his mother finds hope even in adversity, and encourages him to be brave: "My son, tighten your belt / Don't lose heart / Life never kisses your hand / You must have willpower."

To match the song's sentiment, there's something distinctly bittersweet about the delivery, between the gentle swing of the rhythm and the somber tone of the words. Lura's voice captures that complexity: She's at once husky and sweet, direct and rhapsodic, emotive and distant. Her songs reside in a nebulous middle ground between feelings and thoughts, but in spite of the ups and downs, there remains a persistent hope. As the song closes, Lura offers a final reminder that "mo quem ki ta spera sempri t'alcanca," or "he who hopes will always be rewarded."

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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