Monday, 26 October 2015

A Translation of Fado by Alredo Mareneiro

The day I arrived at an apartment I'd booked for my last month in Lisbon last year, the landlord pointed out a cd by Alfredo Marceneiro, one of the great Portuguese fadistas, or fado singers. This is the real fado, the landlord was saying, not the tourist stuff. Over the next month I wore out the cd. Here was music that delivered that sense of longing I loved about Portugal.

Lately I've been working on translations of fado lyrics. First, O Pagem.

When I say translation, I mean free translation, a blend derived from the sounds and rhythms of the piece, a few words of Portuguese in English, and a strand or two of imagination. In this case, I've played it straight, remaining true to the heart of fado (as I understand it) while shifting the setting from Lisbon harbour to the Scarborough bluffs.

Here it is, a piece I call "The Danger":

In the story to remember
Lovers whisper at the shore
Tender words they give each other
In the summer light so warm

Leaning in to every beauty
As if nothing wears away
For a thousand years believing
All that they love will never fail

Thus the making of this story
The unmaking of this scene
So gently do their bodies
Surrender to their dream

They’re immune to any warning 
They see nothing in their way
Down the trail they coax each other, every step another
To their final private room 


If you see two lovers tell them
Of a danger sweet and true, so sweet and true
Always an end

Nothing else for time to do.  

No comments: