Ainda

 

Having seen the fair success of the past review, I felt myself allowed to write some other words about another great album of Madredeus: "Ainda". Even if it can appear as a simple album, .... well it is. Though, it remains simple only if we stop to the great pleasure of listening. If we try to dig in the motivations, in the themes, in the structure of this album, we can find interesting things. This is what I've found. It's not possible to make an organic analysis for "Ainda" as for "O Espírito da Paz"."Ainda" is not a concept album,... or maybe it is but in a very complex and cryptic way. There is no general structure of thematic or musical origin. The reason is linked to the object of its description,....or should I say objects? "Ainda", at the first time strikes us with the beauty of its songs, but first of all for the strong difference with "O Espírito da Paz": the tone, the voice, the arrangements. But it strikes also for great variety of ways of expressions: we can have the happy mood of "Guitarra", the mysterious one of "O Tejo", the melancholic one of "A Cidade e os Campos", the indecipherable one of "Ainda". One of the less prosaic reasons for all of this is that while "O Espírito da Paz" was written by Pedro, "Ainda" has been composed by all the Madredeus. Lets dig. The themes of the songs are loose as notes of a failed poet. "Ainda" actually is a series of personal notes on Lisboa written by one of its inhabitants. But the fact that this notes are so loose makes me think that the inhabitant has become a voyager which discovers for the first time the city and its secrets. The inhabitant sees the extraordinariness of the things that has been surrounding him for years, but that never struck him (the sky of Lisboa, that even with the smog remains of an unrepeatable blue; the Tejo; Alfama....)."Ainda" is a failed attempt to understand something incomprehensible. Lisboa is that....incomprehensible, unique, manifold, earthly, marine, ancient, modern, old, young. Lisboa is manifold as the incarnations of Pessoa and as the individualities that inhabits it. But the shipwreck of this attempt of comprehension creates the best way to describe this city: the variety, the note, the chaos. But there are others level of analysis of this work that should be read. Actually, "Ainda" carry onthe path of "O Espírito da Paz" in a different direction. It analyses Lisboa in the same way in which the girl of "O Espírito da Paz" analyzed the world in the second "movement" (do you remember?). Though, this time, the world is restricted to Lisboa, where it is actually contained. Madredeus doesn't care about the monuments, but they care about the way in which the world penetrates the incredible theatre of life which is Lisboa: the sky, the river, the love story of Alfama... All of this is taken as a hint for reflections about the ego and about the community that, this time, is extended to the lisbonetans and not to the entire humanity. "O Tejo" talks about the relation between the lisbonetans and the author and the river, and the text of "Ceu da Mouraria" in the end talks about the people which dreams (the portuguese people). As it was in O espírito da paz, the text never refers to any individual in particular. The pursue for universality still remains The third way of analysis starts obviously from the title. Pedro said that "Ainda" is one of his favorite words, and this fact should make us think. "Ainda" means still. How can we read this word in the context of a composition like this one? The question is not easy. I think that that word incarnates the spirit that Madredeus had when they starts their voyage that would take them to a fair success and to enormous appreciations of critics. If we read the story of Madredeus in the years of 1993 and 1994 we can see that under all this traveling there was a great curiosity, a great desire to have more but mainly a great desire to Give more. This is the reason that brought Madredeus to sustain three years of uninterrupted concerts, contracts with directors, and other things. This was probably the word that the young Madredeus heard in their head: "Ainda....Ainda....Ainda...". O Tejo is one of the best songs of Madredeus, but the most intimate sense of the lyrics remains obscure. The reason for that is in the particular relationship between the lisbonetans and the Tejo. The Tejo is a river, but is also the sea; it marks, as Lisboa, the self giving of the earth to the sea. But Portugal has a peaceful relation with the sea; it welcomes it in its shores as life lymph and living blood. The beating heart of Portugal is the ocean and the relation of the lisbonetan with the Tejo is mysterious as that between a father with his daughter. "Ceu da Mouraria" is a sunny song that starts with an invocation to Lisboa, and to its ancient soul. Though the subject of the songs in the last part became the portuguese people that dreams in all the dawns of the sun. The real meaning is obscure but my interpretation is that the dawn is the symbol of future and that the portuguese people contemplates the future, continuing to dream that it will return to be the utopic past that the historians narrates. The relation of the portuguese with the past is nowadays very particular, I believe. "Alfama", splendid song, absolutely splendid, is a mystery. Infact the divergence between the title and the theme of the song is great: what does a love story have in common with Alfama. A song entitled "Alfama" has a musical structure and rhythm based on a tango: nothing related to the fados that every night enlighten this place. What is the reason? Personally I have a very earthly idea. Simply, Pedro and Rodrigo knew that this song was beautiful and they wanted to put it in an album. This song could never enter in "O Espírito da Paz" for obvious reasons of coherence, and so they had to put it in "Ainda". Maybe they had to make a song regarding Alfama and so they entitled this song in that manner. The other hypothesis is much more literary and noble. Maybe Pedro tried to describe the feelings that constitutes the majority of the fado songs that inhabits Alfama. Infact the text of this song is a typical fado one: it talks about a failed love of a woman. The question regarding this song remains alive. I want to underline the greatness of "Viagens Interditas" which is, for me, an enormous masterpiece. It is a "flower between two abysses" (quotation from an ancient review of the "Mondschein Sonate" of Beethoven. It is not a comparison!). It proposes a melody of absolute beauty. Two songs remains untouched by all of my analysis: "Milagre" and "Ainda". This two songs are not fixable in the rest of the composition. They do not talk about Lisboa, and of nothing in particular. My opinion is that maybe this two songs had to be in "O Espírito da Paz". Infact the themes and the atmosphere that these songs create are absolutely similar to those of the "official album". "Milagre" should have been probably linked to "Vem" because it narrates the prosecution of the love story of this song, while "Ainda" should have been linked to the first or second "movement". Though these are all hypothesis. In the way I'm used to do, now that I've finished the most common type of review, I would like to tell you some word of extremely personal value. "Ainda" is the album which made me become "quite mad" for Madredeus, but the story of my approach to this music is long and I don't want to stress you with it. Though, the bond that I have with this album is particular and strong. It contains the songs that I love most and it remembers me a particular artistic period of Madredeus. Since I've visited Lisboa and Portugal in the summer of '97, I couldn't prevent from loving it more. Infact "Ainda" talks about Lisboa as only Pessoa did. The Poet has been an inspiration for these artists....I'm sure of this. But when I listen to "Ceu da Mouraria" or "O Tejo", I feel myself on the terrace of the castle of Sao Jorge, watching at the living city below, at the quiet Tejo, and at the beating of my mad heart. I see myself sitting on the cannons of the castle with my brother in the best holiday of my life. I must thank "Ainda" for all of that. This music makes me remember and the memories are my most precious jewels. It brings to my eyes the great images of Wenders, the moment of my understanding of the timeless beauty of Teresa, her hands moving hypnotically in the scene of "Alfama", her gentle walking in the scene of "O Tejo", her look full of love in the scene of "Ceu da Mouraria". In that moment I felt to be Winter, that materializes one of his purest dreams, Teresa, by listening to her voice. Yes... because this is the meaning of the final scene: music makes people meet and love each other. The Music is all, the Music is Man.

Corvinus

from the site Madredeus - O Porto - http://go.to/madredeus