Voice of Shadows: Mariza’s Cavaleiro Monge

© José Goulão with CCLicense

© José Goulão with CCLicense

This is quite simply one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. If you are familiar with Portuguese fado, you are aware of the passion, powerful voice and striking looks of Mariza, born Marisa dos Reis Nunes in the nation of Portuguese Mozambique in east Africa. If not, this song is perhaps one of the best introductions to fado and to this expressive singer.

Fado, which translates into English as destiny, has traditionally consisted of tunes and lyrics full of longing, melancholy and grief. Although this definition has widened to include songs on many different subjects with a variety of moods, the genre is dominated and haunted by the emptiness resulting from the loss of something or someone who will never return. Cavaleiro Monge is no exception.

Mariza released her first album in 2001, Fado em Mim, which sold over 140,000 copies worldwide, testament to the immense talent of this new artist. Fado Curvo (2003), Transparente (2005), Concerto em Lisboa (2007), Terra (2008), and Fado Tradicional (2010) have all been well received. Mariza’s unique style incorporates traditional fado with African, South American Latin, and Flamenco music, as well as jazz. She is the recipient of the Best European Artist in World Music (BBC 3, 2003), the European Border Breakers Award (2004), a Latin Grammy Award for Best Folk Album for Concerto em Lisboa (2007), and many awards from countries around the world.

Video via Paulo Franco on YouTube.

Monk Knight

From valley to mountain, from mountain to hill,

shadow horse, monk knight,

through houses, through fields,

through farms, through fountains,

you walk as a friend.

From valley to mountain, from mountain to hill,

shadow horse, monk knight,

with black cliffs behind and before,

you walk secretly.

From valley to mountain, from mountain to hill,

shadow horse, monk knight,

through deserted meadows without horizons,

you walk freely.

From valley to mountain, from mountain to hill,

shadow horse, monk knight

through indigenous paths, through rivers without bridges

you go alone.

From valley to mountain, from mountain to hill,

shadow horse, monk knight,

there is no end when there is no one to describe it,

you walk in me.

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