Lusophonic: A Portuguese Musical Tour The musical threads of the Portuguese-speaking world stretch from Europe to South America and even to Africa. Betto Arcos, host of Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles, gives Guy Raz a musical tour of the latest in Lusophonic — or Portuguese-language — music from Cape Verde, Brazil and Portugal.
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Lusophonic: A Portuguese Musical Tour

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Lusophonic: A Portuguese Musical Tour

Lusophonic: A Portuguese Musical Tour

Lusophonic: A Portuguese Musical Tour

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The musical threads of the Portuguese-speaking world stretch from Europe to South America and even to Africa. Betto Arcos, host of Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles, gives Guy Raz a musical tour of the latest in Lusophonic — or Portuguese-language — music from Cape Verde, Brazil and Portugal.

GUY RAZ, host:

(Soundbite of music)

Listen to this song by one of Portugal's youngest, hottest fado singers, Joana Amendoeira.

Ms. JOANA AMENDOEIRA (Singer): (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

RAZ: Betto Arcos knows a lot about fado and other music from around the world. He is a long-time host of a show called "Global Village" on KPFK in Los Angeles. And today, he's brought us some new music to listen to from across the Portuguese-speaking world.

Betto Arcos, thanks for joining us again.

Mr. BETTO ARCOS (Host, Global Village): Always a pleasure to be with you, Guy.

RAZ: Tell us about this singer. She made her debut album when she was just 16.

Mr. ARCOS: Yeah, the great thing about her is that, you know, she really has fado in her blood. She started actually singing earlier and she won a competition at the age of 12 singing the blues. Now, fado is the most well-known music from Portugal. It is the blues of Portugal. It is the most well-known music, although it's not the only one. It's music that has to do with nostalgia, with melancholy, with a sense of longing.

And the keyword here is saldagi(ph), and that's what all that means.

(Soundbite of song, "Digo Adeus ao teu adeus")

Ms. AMENDOEIRA: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

RAZ: And, Betto, in this song, also by Amendoeira, there's a kind of a sadness there but I also sense a little bit of hope maybe, or am I hearing too much into it?

Mr. ARCOS: I think yes. I mean, there is this sense of fate, of, you know, it's done, we're finished. The song is called, appropriately enough, "Digo Adeus ao teu adeus," or "I Say Goodbye to Your Goodbye."

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. ARCOS: So, there is this sort of hope, like, you know, it's over, done. I'm done with it.

(Soundbite of song, "Digo Adeus ao teu adeus")

Ms. AMENDOEIRA: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

RAZ: And, Betto, is there a kind of a renaissance going on in fado music now with younger musicians kind of taking it up?

Mr. ARCOS: There is in fact for the last 10 or 15 years a new generation of fado singers that are following in the footsteps of some of the great fado singers. The biggest name being Amalia Rodrigues, who really put this music on the world map. And there are - just like Joana Amendoeira - there are dozens and dozens of male and female fado singers that are revitalizing this music.

RAZ: Betto, you brought us another piece of music, a slightly different sound. This is also, of course, from the Portuguese-speaking world. From Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony off the coast of Africa, and the singer's name is Nancy Vieira.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. NANCY VIEIRA (Singer): (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

Mr. ARCOS: Nancy Vieira, this is her third record and one record that, if there is a way to describe the music of Portugal in the voice of Nancy Vieira, it would be warm. It's a warm voice and it's a feeling of, you know, being at home in the company of your friends and family, and that's what she expresses in this particular song. It's a longing for the place that you love.

(Soundbite of "Coladeira")

Ms. VIEIRA: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

Mr. ARCOS: What I like about the music of Cape Verde is that it brings together the Portuguese influence but also the influence of other parts of the world, particularly Brazil and West Africa. And that's what you hear in the music of Cape Verde. This particular style of music that we're hearing right now is called "Coladeira." It's kind of a dance music in Cape Verde.

RAZ: Betto, I love this song. It's got this kind of afternoon, breezy sound.

Mr. ARCOS: Yes, it does. And in fact, the lyrics say something like the sunset, there's party everywhere. Morabeza is our feature. Our land must be loved and protected. And it's all about the sense of the longing in a place where you were born, where you grew up and you don't want to leave the place.

RAZ: And she actually left Cape Verde at a young age, right?

Mr. ARCOS: She was about 14 years old and they moved - the family moved to Portugal, to Lisbon, and that's where really her career took off and she's been performing for the last decade or so. She has three albums - this is the third one - and it's really beautifully produced.

RAZ: Okay, Betto. Let's move across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil - of course, a wellspring of Portuguese music. You brought us an artist named Marcio Local -am I pronouncing that right?

Mr. ARCOS: Marcio Local.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. MARCIO LOCAL (Singer): (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

RAZ: I was listening to this over headphones earlier and the sound just wraps around your ears. It's this very warm, kind of retro sound.

Mr. ARCOS: It is retro. I think you put the finger right on the color of the sound. Because this music, it, in a sense, harkens back to the late-'60s, early-'70s when in Brazil, there was this incredible influence of American music, particularly soul and funk. And in fact, Marcio Local, in this record, is paying tribute to that era. And so it is, in a sense, retro, but I would say with a lot of turbocharged or just with a really funky, deeper sense of groove.

(Soundbite of song, "Soul do Samba")

Mr. LOCAL: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

RAZ: And, Betto, this is his debut album, right?

Mr. ARCOS: Yes, it is. It's an album that's been taking about 16 years to make.

RAZ: Sixteen years?

Mr. ARCOS: Yes. He's been really, you know, trying to make it happen. And he's been influenced by all of these musicians and he wanted to make something special and something different, and this is what he delivered. And Luaka Bop in the U.S. released it...

RAZ: That's David Byrne's label.

Mr. ARCOS: David Byrne's label, yes. Man, and I just thought, wow, what a great sound; what a great sense of revitalizing something that was really hip and happening in the '60s and '70s. But now, it sounds so rich and so new, so refreshing.

RAZ: This song is "Soul do Samba." It's by Brazilian singer Marcio Local off his new album, "Adventures in Samba Soul," and it was brought to us by Betto Arcos. He's the host of KPFK's "Global Village." You can hear all of the music he brought us today at our Web site, npr.org.

Betto Arcos, thanks for coming in.

Mr. ARCOS: Thanks for having me.

(Soundbite of song, "Soul do Samba")

Mr. LOCAL: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)

RAZ: And that's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz. Have a great evening.

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