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Music of the Azores, "Song of the Immigant"

Song of the Immigrant

"A Cancao do Emigrante"("Song of the Immigrant") is a Portuguese Fado, which is a musical genre, characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics. Fados emerged in the mid-19th century as a musical style. This song is talking to immigrants, who have moved from Portugal or the Azores, telling them to use the guitar to remember home. To hear a clip of "A Cancao do Emigrante," click on the "play music" button above.

Tu, Portugues
Se alguma vez
Saires a barra
Escuto o que eu digo
Leva contigo
Uma guitarra
E se a crueza
Duma tristeza
Teu peito invade
Encosta a guitarra ao peito
Que sentes menos saudade

Canta o emigrante
Que a Patria distant
Te ouvira talvez
Quem te ouvir cantar
Nao pode olvidar
Que es bem Portugues
Lanca as tuas magoas
Ao sabor das aguas
Sim, canta e sorri
Como quem desfia um terco
Que a Patria, que te foi berco
Espera por ti

Canto ao amor
A luz e a cor
Das capelinhas
Da tua aldeia
Mimosa e cheia
De flores branquinhas.
Canta emigrante,
Feliz confiente
Porque afinal
Assim de guitarra ao peito
Estas perto de Portugal

(Portugee, if some time you cross the bar hearken to what I say. Take with you a guitar. If a raw sadness fills you, lean the guitar against your chest so you may feel less homesick. Sing, you immigrant, so the distant homeland may hear you. Whoever hears your song cannot forget that you are truly Portuguese. It launches your sorrows on the waters. Yes, sing and smile as you realize the place that was your cradle waits for you. Sing to love, to light, and to the colorful chapels of your village, full of flowers and cane brandy. Sing, you immigrant, surely happy because, after all, like the guitar against your chest you remain close to Portugal.)

'A Cancao do Emigrante' sung by Manuel Fernandes and Maria do Spirito Santo, with Francisco Carvalhinho (Portuguese guitar) and Martinho d' Assuncao (Spanish guitar) on 'Fados of Portugal.' Monitor Records MFS 406. Provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings (MON00406_101). Used by permission.

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