O Paraíso

 

Dear O Paraíso,

it is difficult to describe you, dear musical interlocutor of so many evenings, mornings, of so many moments that will be forever bonded to your music, to your atmosphere, to your essence.
I have never had a fixed idea that allowed me to gather the ideas that I made on you in an "Organum" which could deserve a paper transcription. In the same way, but differently from what happened to me for Ainda, my notes are loose, my reflections are muddled, illogical, caused by the moment, by the state of mind and not by a serene and sure rational analysis. But I am forced now to put an order in the chaos of you breathe. I listened to you for the first time with enthusiasm and without any kind of prejudice. I liked you in a devastating way since the beginning, with that song which is so deeply Madredeus and that tore from me tears at the first listening. The sound was different, I was aware of that, but I didn't care so much. You sang in a different way, the atmosphere that you created with your musical sculptures in my room had a strange flavour that I didn't rationalize sufficiently. In different periods, your image in me undergone several changes and distortions caused by quick judgments or by collateral passions for other colleagues of you like O Espírito da Paz. Now that "O Porto" has born from Time and Art, your essence is much more understandable to me. You come from a stormy period. Madredeus, in the years of 1996 and 1997, undergone a deep transformation, already started with the joining of Josè Peixoto, which altered a lot, in my opinion, the musical equilibrium inside the group (it has been UNDOUBTEDLY an incredible evolution...). This process of disruption of something which appeared undestructible and solid in its ethereality, a human construction without any defect and able to reproduce the musical perfection of a musical contradiction, went on in silence. The ancient creature changed skin, maintaining her soul intact, keeping its wills for the future, its dreams and its determination. In a few months, all the fans feared the worst: the tower of Pisa, wonder of an architectural contradiction, seemed to break in its basis. But the Dream sustained her and even now is sustaining her, because the Dream is the soul of Paradise, of O Paraíso. For this reason, after two years of fear, a new fantastic creature, a new caravel started its voyage from Lisboa, and its name was O Paraíso. An impossible name, another contradiction in terms for what should have been the Inferno: the inferno of transformation, of death and rebirth. Yes, dear Paraíso, you are indescribable. I could describe the myriad of different feelings that you evoked in me reflecting in my heart the best part of that myself that I can't see and understand. But I think that it would be better to analyze you with the instinct of a surgeon in order to understand the biological basis of my syndrome, before retiring in the contemplation of its metaphysical meaning. Even for you, as for Ainda, it is impossible to find a initiation path of any kind. You are not a road, you are an enormous square which looks at the sea, at the sky, at the city and at the people who walk on it. As in every square, there are many palaces which are spectators to the human stories that goes on in front of them, but if "Ainda" was that palaces, you, O Paraíso, are in the stories of that people, in their soul, in the contortions caused in them by their feelings. You are a collection of human events, like a Recherche du Temps Perdu of proustian memory, where the landscapes are made of feelings, of words and of looks and not of natural manifestations. I can read in you all the contrasting feelings that we can live in a common day and, listening to you, I can read my life, the interior one, the hidden one, the one that you unveil us without the embarrassment of feeling sensations
And the feeling which is best described is that of love, undoubtedly bonded to the dear one of saudade. In O Espírito da Paz, has been studied the feeling in its most intimate reflection, in its consequences inside us, as if love, after all, was much more a feeling toward ourselves than toward others. Now love, feeling, has get concrete.
Its real development, its idiosyncrasies, its birth, its end is examined, but the resulting vision of love is sad and full of nostalgic saudade.
This sadness seems to derive from the inevitable dichotomy between the illusion of a platonic love and the reality of a love made of compromises, vain hopes and renunciations. You talk often about the perfect love, as something that has been lost, and that is perfect because it has been lost, because it is distant, because it is impossible. This is the cause of the flee toward the Dream, peaceful and reassuring secret casket, where we can soothe the pains of a reality which is malignant as a Leopardi's Nature. From here, the frequent use of oneiric and hypnotic images that we can find in your songs. The Dream remains a private and secret alcove; publicly, the disappointed love can be poured on that abstract reflections for the pains of humanity that we can found in O Fim da Estrada or in Canção aos Novos and that I think should be seen as fleeing ways for a thought that do not want to remain on the near present. A characterizing element of you is though the particular atmosphere that you are able to create, whose tone is so unique to be difficultly describable as a palette of expressions and feelings. I think though that one of the dominant colours of that palette is that of anxiety. In many of your 14 songs it appears in several ways. The atmosphere can also be serene but it remains always tense, intense, like a retained scream. Sometimes, that feeling shows itself in the arrangement which is softly hypnotic and sometimes nearly obsessive, while in others, the accompaniment seems to pursue anxiously the voice. I think about Canção aos Novos, in which the guitar seems to pursue the voice of Teresa which remains too high to be reached. But the sound of that guitar in a so low tone brings a strange restlessness; that restlessness which is one of the characteristics of the unique atmosphere of you, O Paraíso. Listening to you, I have the opposite sensation that I feel when I listen O Espírito da Paz. In this last one, even if the lyrics contained sources of restlessness, the musical texture remained serene and gave to the songs the unique colour of contradiction. When I listen to your songs, the contradiction remains but it is opposite; even if the lyrics are serene and sunny, the musical texture prevails coating this lyrics with a shadowy mantle of anxiety. Maybe this feeling, which is so unique in the work of Madredeus, but undoubtedly linked with saudade, derives also from the "solitude" of the voice of Teresa in these new songs. It has no instrument "near" her, noone companion, and the girl of O Espírito da Paz, which has become a woman in the meantime, travels a prey to her feelings. I think that this image of a "lonely" voice in a musical and emotional landscape which is so intense and strong provokes in us a sort of tension which become anxiety. In my regard, you, dear O Paraíso, gave me the strength to see much more and much differently inside myself. So many memories wear you music and I remember them when I listen to you: women that I have loved, difficult days, easy days, moments and instants that are part of you. In your music I see a part of me that maybe has disappeared, shipwrecked in the sea of the interior evolution: the evolution that you have helped and that you will continue to sustain.

Corvinus

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