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It’s hard to think of two musical. Genres that would be harder to turn into a crossover performance than Fado and Death Metal. And yet, if you think about it, is it that surprising a combination? They both deal in heavy stuff like death and despair, everyone’s wearing black and it’s all guitar-based (albeit a different kind of guitar). Fado is usually more subtle of course, but could it ever work? Well, here’s Dulce Pontes and Moonspell coming to test the theory at the Play Awards a few days ago.

It starts out with her singing fado and him not really able to keep up, and they go along together for a while, but by the end she’s pretty much reigning supreme over goth metal and he still can’t really keep up. The bit right at the end where he roars and she shrieks, but she can keep up the shrieking about four times as long as he can keep up the roar so he’s just left there staring at heaven from whence God’s vengeance cometh while she’s still belting out the same note. No prisoners taken!

The song they’re singing at the start is “Porque”, from Dulce’s latest album, and it’s based on a poem by Sophia De Mello Breyner Andresen. It’s expressing admiration for another person’s bravery and independence of spirit (“because others wear a mask but you don’t, because others use their virtue to pay for what can’t be forgiven – because others are afraid and you aren’t”) After the beat drops at about the half way mark, they’re onto Moonspell’s “In Tremor Dei“* which is a doom laden song about the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake “Lisbon in flames – a lantern lit, when a city falls another empire arises…” On the face of it, the two songs don’t seem to go well together, but the segue works because of the lyrics: at the end of the second verse of the fado, they sing together “porque os outros se calam mas tu não” – “because others keep quiet but you don’t.” Cue drums, guitar, crowd chanting and first pumping. Epic.

There were some other crossovers at the same show, like one between Nenny and Ana Moura, or between Camané, Agir and the Ukrainian Orthodox Choir, all good in their own ways of course, but this one is by far the most epic.

I’ve got tickets to see a Dulce Pontes concert that was delayed from last November to this November and I’m hoping she brings these lads with her now.

*Don’t panic if you’re struggling to translate the title – it’s Latin, not Portuguese!

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Dia De S Receber

I have been listening to other Xutos and Pontapés songs after getting over my mental block with A Minha Casinha the other day, I like this one: Dia de S Receber. I’m not a catholic so the title is a little bit alien to me, but saints’ days seem to be more of a thing in Portugal than they are in britain, at least if my Twitter feed is anything to go by. the S in the title is short for Sao (“Saint”) so São Receber means “Saint Receive” and that means o Dia de Sao Receber is payday, right? I’m not wrong about that am I? I hope not or this translation is going to be a right old mess….

This is the best kind of video, by the way: It has the lyrics appearing as part of the video, not just as inaccurate subtitles, which is really helpful for us learners. If you want to find out more about them you shouldn’t find it hard: there’s loads of their stuff on Youtube, on Spotify and all the usual places. I’m sort of intrigued by a book I came across on bertrand’s website too: there’s a comic book about them with a free CD. It’s part of a series including eight well-known portuguese bands. I wouldn’t go out of my way to get it but I might bung it in the basket next time I’m shopping for books, I shouldn’t be doing any such thing of course, because I’m on a book-buying ban, but it’s nearly my birthday so I might just treat myself.

Dia de S receber

Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!
Embora falar da arte / Let’s talk about art
Da arte de sobreviver / About the art of survival
Daquela que se descobre / Of what we find out
Quando não há que comer / When there’s nothing to eat
Há os que roubam ao banco / There are those who rob banks
Os que não pagam por prazer / Those who don’t pay for pleasure
Os que pedem emprestado / Those who borrow money
E os que fazem render / And those who earn money
Este dia a dia é duro / This day-to-day is hard
É duro de se levar / It’s hard to get up
É de casa pró trabalho / It’s from house to work
E do trabalho pró lar / And from work to home
Leva assim uma vida / A life could get taken up that way
Na boínha* sem pensar / Fair enough if you don’t think about it
Mas há-de chegar o dia / But the day has to come
Em que tens de me pagar / When you have to pay me
Ai é o dia / Oh** it’s the day
De S. Receber / The day of São Receber
Dia de S. Receber / Day of São Receber
Já não chega o que nos / It’s not enough what
Tiram à hora de pagar / They take from us on payday
É difícil comer solas / It’s difficult to eat
Estufadas ao jantar / stewed shoe soles for dinner
De histórias mal contadas / By badly-told stories
Anda meio mundo a viver / Half the world is living
Enquanto o outro meio / While the other half
Fica à espera de receber / Are waiting to get paid
Ai é o dia / Oh it’s the day
De S. Receber / The day of São Receber
Dia de S. Receber / Day of São Receber
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!
Aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiii a minha vida / Oh my life!***
É assim esta diálise / That’s how it is, the dialysis****
Entre o deve e o haver / between owing and having
Sei que para o patrão custa / I know it’s hard for my boss
Enfrentar este dever / to face this duty
O dinheiro para mim não conta / Money doesn’t count for me
Eu trabalho por prazer / I work for pleasure
Mas o dia que eu mais gosto / But the day I like the best
É o dia de S. Receber / Is the day of São Receber

* You won’t find boínha in the dictionary. It’s just a diminutive though: Na boa + inha = na boínha. Ciberdúvidas says it shouldn’t have an accent but this is how I found it on the lyrics page so I’m leaving it in.

**Ai is an exclamation like “Oh!”, not to be confuised with “Aí” which means “There”. If you look at the video, it’s the same word he’s shouting at the beginning and in the middle as “AAAAAAAAIIIIII”

*** In the video, when he gets to the middle of the song at the second round of “AAAAAAAIIIIIII” etc, he adds a couple of extras in: first, a nursery rhyme called “Atirei o pau ao gato” (“I threw the stick at the cat”) which has been criticised for cruelty to animals (I wrote a blog post about this ages ago but it’s pretty much what you’d expect from people who have nothing better to do than to closely analyse nursery rhymes). Secondly, there’s a bit of swearing: “A puta da minha vida” – “My bitch of a life”, which seems to be quite a common expression. For a start, it’s used in the title of this very good collection of essays by Miguel Esteves Cardoso, which I read a few years ago when I was at B1 level and even then found very easy to read and very funny.

**** Weird word choice, this. According to Priberam it really does only have that medical meaning. I wondered if it was a misprint – maybe some other word meaning “dichotomy” or “dualism” or something but it’s right there in the video, so I asked Mrs L about it and she says yeah, it does just seem to be that idea some idea that there’s a medical procedure required to separate out the money owed and the money you have.

Posted in English, Portuguese


Here’s a corrected text from a couple of days ago with some additional notes. The theme is this weird new Mad-Libs policy about refugees that the British government came up with just before Easter and then were shocked… shocked! – when every vicar in the land used their easter sermons to say it wasn’t what Jesus would have done.

Pensei em escrever sobre a nova política do partido conservador face à imigração de refugiados mas é tão ridículo que, contado, ninguém acredita. A questão da imigração e dos refugiados (não são iguais mas são semelhantes até certo ponto) é complicado e cada país tem de pensar bem antes de fazer uma política que passa a prova de justiça e de compaixão, mas o nosso governo não se importa.

Amazingly this text didn’t need any corrections (it’s not often that happens!) but Dani told me more about the phrase “Contado Ninguém Acredita”. I only know it from the Deolinda song

… But it’s also the Portuguese translation of the name of the American movie “Stranger than Fiction”.

It’s usually said as part of a larger expression “Isto só visto porque contado ninguém acredita” which basically means “You have to see it to believe it. There used to be a TV series in the nineties called Isto Só Vídeo which was a sort of Portuguese equivalent of those cheap shows where people send in their home videos of terrible disasters – falling off bikes or getting whacked in the face by a swing or whatever – and you wonder how long they had to spend on A&E to bring the nation 30 seconds of amusement. I’m thinking of Jeremy Beadle because my cultural references are very out of date but I’m pretty sure they are still a thing now and of course YouTube is full of them. Anyway here’s what it looks like.

How’s that? I’ve gone from the refugee crisis to Jeremy Beadle in 5 paragraphs. Not bad eh?

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Well I Obviously Misunderstood This One

I mentioned this guy’s YouTube channel a little while ago. He’s on Instagram now, and I’m glad I watched today’s video, because I had totally misunderstood this phrase. I thought it implied dishonesty – like the person was cunning and looking for a way to game the system for their own benefit but apparently not, it’s just someone who thinks they know everything.

Posted in English, Portuguese

Primavera – Amália Rodrigues

Well, I mentioned it’s spring here in the northern hemisphere, so here’s my attempt at a translation of Primavera. I can’t find any videos of Amália singing it but I’ll drop a live recording of Mariza’s version here for those who don’t know it.

Ai funesta Primavera!

Todo o amor que nos prendera /All the love that had stuck to us
Como se fora de cera /As if it were wax
Se quebrava e desfazia /Broke apart and disintegrated
Ai, funesta Primavera! /Oh terrible spring!
Quem me dera, quem nos dera /If only I, if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia /Had died on that day
Ai, funesta Primavera /Oh terrible spring
Quem me dera, quem nos dera /If only I, if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia /Had died on that day

E condenaram-me a tanto /And they condemned me so much
Viver comigo o meu pranto / To live with myself and with my mourning
Viver, viver e sem ti / To live to live without you
Vivendo sem no entanto / But living without
Eu me esquecer desse encanto /forgetting that enchantment
Que nesse dia perdi / That I lost in that day
Vivendo sem no entanto / But living without
Eu me esquecer desse encanto /forgetting that enchantment
Que nesse dia perdi / That i lost on that day

Pão duro da solidão / The stale bread of loneliness
É somente o que nos dão / Is all the give us
O que nos dão a comer / What they give us to eat
Que importa que o coração / What does it matter if the heart
Diga que sim ou que não / Says yes or no
Se continua a viver / If it keeps on living
Que importa que o coração /What does it matter if the heart
Diga que sim ou que não / Says yes or no
Se continua a viver /If it keeps on living

Todo o amor que nos prendera /All the love that had stuck to us
Se quebrara e desfizera / Broke apart and disintegrated
Em pavor se convertia / It converted itself into dread
Ninguém fale em Primavera /Nobody talk about spring
Quem me dera, quem nos dera / If only I, if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia / Had died on that day
Ninguém fale em Primavera /nobody talk about spring
Quem me dera, quem nos dera / If only I if only we
Ter morrido nesse dia / Had died on that day

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E Depois do Adeus

I mentioned Eurovision a couple of days ago and it reminded me of this song, e Depois do Adeus by Paulo de Carvalho, which has to be a strong candidate for the Eurovision entry that had the most impact in the real world. As you can see, it’s straight out of the seventies, with the sideburns and the big collar, and it’s hard to imagine anything more Conservative sounding (although this guy, for example, thinks there is a social criticism buried in the poetry of the lyrics)

So how did it come to have an impact? In a way, it was catapulted to a place in history by its very conservatism. It was the Portuguese entry in the 6th of April 1974 in Brighton. It was pretty popular and wasn’t banned, so it was used as a signal on the 25th of April 1974 at 10.55, for the troops involved in the Movimento das Forças Armadas to get ready, armed and at their post. Nobody listening, who wasn’t in on the plot, would have thought it a strange choice, so if the leadership had had to back out at the last minute there would have been no suspicions aroused. Later the same evening, when it was decided that everything was in place and the plan could go ahead, a second song was played, namely Grândola, Vila Morena, which was a revolutionary song by Jose Afonso, that had been banned by the Novo Estado since its release in 1971. Once that was transmitted by Radio Renascença, everyone knew shit had got real. The convoy left their barracks and there was no turning back.

Here are the lyrics.

Quis saber quem sou /I wanted to know who I am
O que faço aqui /What I’m doing here
Quem me abandonou /Who abandoned ne
De quem me esqueci /Who I had forgotten
Perguntei por mim /I asked for myself
Quis saber de nós /I wanted to know about us
Mas o mar /But the sea
Não me traz /Didn’t bring me
Tua voz /Your voice

Em silêncio, amor /In silence, love
Em tristeza enfim /In sadness, finally
Eu te sinto, em flor /I feel you flowering
Eu te sofro, em mim /I feel you, in me
Eu te lembro, assim /I remind you like this
Partir é morrer /That to leave is to die
Como amar / Just as to love
É ganhar /Is to win
E perder /and to lose

Tu vieste em flor /I saw you in flower
Eu te desfolhei /I plucked off your petals
Tu te deste em amor /You gave yourself in love
Eu nada te dei /i didn’t give you anything
Em teu corpo, amor /In your body, love
Eu adormeci /I slept
Morri nele /I died in it
E ao morrer /and by dying
Renasci /was reborn

E depois do amor /And after the love
E depois de nós /And after us
O dizer adeus /The saying goodbye
O ficarmos sós /And being alone
Teu lugar a mais /Too much space for you
Tua ausência em mim /Your absence in me
Tua paz /Your peace
Que perdi /That I lost
Minha dor que aprendi /My pain that I learned
De novo vieste em flor /I saw you again in flower
Te desfolhei /I plucked off your petals

E depois do amor /And after the love
E depois de nós /And after us
O adeus /the goodbye
O ficamos sós /The being alone

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Counter Strike

Hm, I don’t know if this TikTok is going to show up on WordPress but I’ve been enjoying trying to decipher this video as some extreme listening practice.

On first listen I could only get about 6 words and even now, after showing it to my wife I’m still not able to pick out everything. Being told they were talking about “CS” (Counterstrike, I assume) helped. Something like

Pra vocês que (…) joga o CS (…) caralho, tá aqui o meu tropa Fernando. Fernando, quantos anos já tens?


E qual é o teu rank do CS?

Dragon Lord

Ah pois é puto

Or in English

For all of you who (play fucking counter strike) I have my team-mate Fernando here. Fernando, how old are you?


And what rank are you in Counterstrike?

Dragon Lord

Yeah, man!

Posted in English

Short Shorts

I heard about this channel, Portuguese Dips the other day. There are some really good little snippets in there: little useful bits of language to pick up and spice up your spoken language, mostly. This for example isn’t really something I see often in traditional lessons but it definitely seems plunderable. A good one to add to your YouTube follows.

Posted in English

An Unlesson

I’ve just had a meeting with a Portuguese teacher who I thought was doing something interesting. Her name is Catarina and she runs The Language Unschool.

If you hang around the various online forums where Portuguese learners congregate, you’ve probably come across a lot of teachers looking for new students among the pool of curious, interested, potential learners who are trying to figure out where to start. The teachers usually have YouTube channels with a range of topics new learners are interested in: how to watch subtitled TV, how to use Ser and Estar, how to say the days of the week and so on, and they use that to draw in paying punters.

Catarina was fishing in darker waters though. She contacted me via Reddit after I’d already been writing in WritestreakPT every day for a few weeks and invited me for a free consultation. I liked the sound of the school. The package has a few components: a smartphone app, grammar videos, group sessions activities that aim to draw out people’s Portuguese voice and getting them talking. She seemed very switched on and presented the options well.

She’d really made an effort to demonstrate her personal touch too, because she’d looked at some of my recent posts, where I’ve talked about my January yoga binge and she’d actually teamed up with a local yoga teacher and made a video about yoga in Portuguese, released on the day she contacted me 👇

As a piece of entrepreneurship, it was impressive. I felt like she was making an effort to win me over as a customer: where most teachers aim for broad appeal, she seemed to be aiming for a specific niche. That’s how it felt anyway: the approach, the description, even the pricing structure, all seemed to be tailored to suit people who had already made up their mind to stick at it long term.

Anyway, I tried out the yoga video yesterday morning . I had to turn the subtitles on because I couldn’t hear very well but the inbuilt YouTube subtitles have a black background. That created some unexpected humour, because at one point the teacher got down on the floor and… And then I couldn’t see her any more! It looked like she’d had a sudden attack of shyness and decided to hide behind the subtitles, which made me laugh out loud. Anyway, if you fancy giving it a go, maybe play with the video settings and see if you can change the subtitles so they don’t have a background.

As I’ve said in some previous posts, doing workouts in Portuguese is a good way of learning some of the more niche body vocabulary and you’ll get a decent stretch out of it too, so what’s not to like?

I’m still pondering whether to go for the course. I’ll sleep on it. I definitely like the idea, and I need something to boost me towards spoken fluency, but I’m not sure how it fits into the rest of my life. Also, with the third world war around the corner, maybe nothing matters any more.

Hm, got a bit dark there at the end, didn’t it? I caught a glance at the news. Sorry.