Many things have been said on the role of love in the poetic of Madredeus. As always, I'm not here to answer to this question but to propose what my heart feel which is answer to my questions and not to the question in itself. What I propose is, though, the answer that I like to give, that I want to suppose true, because beautiful and full of harmony.
Love has always been a fundamental theme in the poetic and in the lyrics of the song of Madredeus, but it has always changed shape, aspect, and often has been hidden, showing only its collateral effects and not his main synthoms.
The first repertoire (Os Dias and Existir) proposed the portuguese aspect of the love theme. It was a music, as Pedro said, on Portugal. For this reason it described its somatic traits, the culture, the soft and melancholic tone of the approach to life. It is music that is natural consequence of the will to rediscover with a new language the ancient meanings that were disappearing in the post-modern cultural flattening: among these meanings there was obviously the one of saudade.
The love theme clearly felt the effects of this proposal, proposing itself in the most "saudadose" way, linking itself to the concept of distance that can be read in so many different ways. The love that emerges from songs like Adeus, O Pomar or Cuidado is a love that suffers as saudade does: sweetly. It is a love made of farewell, of distance, of regret for not-said-words, for moments lost in memory, for an happy past with the loved one. It is a love centered on the single and not "distributed" between two people that are part of the same entity (as John Donne would say about two lovers). It is never a love for an idealized person, for a person that we have created in our mind to provide for the lack or a real counterpart; it is always a love for a real, true, but inevitably distant person. It is then wrong for to limit ourself to consider the "love for Madredeus" as a completely plathonic one: even if the references to the carnality are not present I feel that they are quite well explained in that "not saying", in that silence. Let's remember that the "love for Madredeus" is always something that is or was something real; the fact that this love is then transfigured and analyzed as something trascendent doesn't impede it to have firm earthly roots.
The distance that link the two lovers has been often interpreted as the demonstration of an abstraction that bring to an idealization of the loved one. I sincerely think that it would be possible and much more correct to see that distance in not strictly spatial terms: two lovers are often separated by a distance made of years, thoughts, social status, and by many other different obstacles to the effective communion of two souls. It is a fierce distance because it leaves the two lovers physically near, but it built between them the simple and thin wall of due or will. The feeling between Romeo and Juliet, of Cyrano, of the Hunchback of Notredame was merely saudade: a nostalgia for those future instants of love that are forbidden to us by any rule that is put on us and that is extraneous to love.
In the second repertoire (O Espirito and Ainda), the approach to the feeling become almost metaphysical and spiritual. Its earthly synthoms are interpreted in order to find the root and the hidden meaning of "Feeling", not as an event, but as an entity whose origin and reasons of existence are unknown. It is then a love that gets far from saudade, which is an earthly feeling, and starts to transcend from itself. It is infact difficult to understand if Madredeus talk really about "love" or about something more extended. Love is here seen as a manifestation of the human's irrationality, as war, as regret, as the will to travel. I prefer to see that repertoire (in particular "O Espirito da Paz") as an exploration of irrationality in all of its shapes and manifestations. The initiatic travel of the girl of O Espirito indicates us in the irrationality the origin of human's universality. The discovery of irrationality, incarnated in the feelings, as the universal language of man bring us to considerations of the meaning of peace, brotherhood, solidarity.
On one side thare is this universal proposal, and the other hand there is the manifestation of a state of the soul, that identifies the so-called "portuguese soul". I believe that it can be seen as an attitude, a sort of abandonment and cautious pliability to feelings, and I feel that this particular state of the soul generates saudade in the moment in which it have to front the "distance" and the contrast between the will and the human limit.
Definitely, love is there seen as the most noble manifestation of irrationality; the one that have to indicate us the way to follow to reach peace and the consciousness of the communion of the same destiny.
In the third repertoire (O Paraiso and O Porto) there is a return maybe to a more intimate dimension of love, a more instinctive and showed version. Love is unveiled, without mid-terms, digging as possible in all of its different components and idiosyncrasies. I see a rediscovery of the meaning of the word "Love" in the peculiarity of the other, in the moments lived toghether, in the time we have devoted to him. It is a more earthly love, more true, more suffering, but that mantains intact the typical peculiarities of the "love for Madredeus".
The conceptual proposal of this repertoire remains nowadays obscure and it is then difficult to understand fully the reasons why the love theme returned to be so earthly.
Madredeus has always proposed a vision of love soothed by the sorrow-hope called saudade. It is always a hopeful and living love, never agonizing, soft, never sharpened and cutting. It is a lyric love in the meaning that it talks everytime about the personal reflections that the loving feeling have on the single, even if the love described by Madredeus has always had the dimension of the lover's love.
Personally I criticize that vision. I criticize it as I criticize the majority of the artists, writers and musicians that have tried to explain me with their works the loving feeling.
Love, in every art, is always painted on a canvas, inevitably flat. I think that it should be sculpted, showing with no fear to spoil, what is behind it, what is before it. It is always an institutional love whose phasis are known in a universal protocol that omits the salient traits: the one of the birth.
Often we see in art a "partial" love that sometimes live of the utility, of the project, of the plan, of the statistics. But love is not statistic, there is no utility, it doesn't project and it is not projected, it can't be planned but it happens and often happens that it happen on only one side. They always talk about a love "in itinere", "in medias res", when it already is and never when it could be and doesn't become. It is a "politically correct" love that follow rules of "par condicio", of "do ut des" that are not at all valid: it is also blood, love can be also only blood. We forget too often about that. We deny the "wertherian" dimension of love, described by Goethe and by the ones that built the "Sturm und Drang".
It exists a solitair love which is devastating, autharchic inside us. It bends us, crossing us as a blade, destroying pillars of our life, rebuilding and then destroying again. It moves our arms, it makes us tremble like leaves, it torments our thoughts with memories that we have not, memories of future events that dream make real. It is a love that change us, alter us, make us fly in every whisper of the loved one and bury us under every silence of him.
Exists an impossible and inopportune love, which explodes inside us even against our rational fears. It slays our soul, because it become a chain between Love and Moral: the first the pushes us to say, to do, to try to change a destiny that has turned its back to us; the second that tries to impede it to us puttingin front of us the consequences of such actions. Pulled from opposite directions from so strong forces, our heart break in the undecision, in the thought. It is a love that brings us to wrath, to the evil wrath of the one who loves and knows that he must not love, who burns and must extinguish himself, who syayed himself and must heal alone; and after the wrath, the cry of pain, for all our bleeding.
It needs too much courage to talk about that aspects of love. It needs courage because it is a sorrowful dimension that we always try to remove, to forget, to omit as with the children when we avoid to tell them the horrors of the world.
I don't want to demonstrate you that love is sorrow, only sorrow, because I would be wrong and it would not be what I think. Love is the light of life, its meaning, its guide. Love is life. Nothing else exists worthwile to fight, to suffer, to sacrifice for it. Love is everything, it moves everything, it creates everything, but it can also destroy everything.
Even if Madredeus propose a marvelous and detailed description of love, it omits an important thing: love is always considered obvious, and it is never like that.
But maybe it is a choice. Maybe they want to explain how love can be something much more wide, that have not to be limited to the relation man-woman, as our friend Esther Gomes sustain. Love become in this way a love opened to humanity, to nature which permits us to make everything a object of love.
I think that the message that Madredeus has always proposed is that we have to love life, every instant of it, bad or good, because in life we can find the poetry that is hidden inside us. The music of Madredeus, their words, push to our conscience that poetry that we have inside since the beginning of our life. The images that we see and that sensation of peace that we feel when we listen to their music are only the outposts of our poetry in our conscience.
But what is the link between Poetry and Love?
from the site Madredeus - O Porto - http://go.to/madredeus