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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Busser

IMAGINE - Recording in Portugal

For our Portuguese part of Imagine, we didn't have a concrete plan, just the vage idea to integrate fado music as the traditional music of the country. And sometimes it is the best not to have plans, then it will come to you. Maybe that's why Fado means "fate" in English, it just happens what should happen... We asked our quartet partner Marija about suggestions and as she has great ideas, great contacts and studies doctorate together with people from various fields, she immediately said: "you have to meet Mucio!". And we met Mucio.

In Alfama, the historical district and the birthplace of fado, in a bar named Alfama Muralha, he was waiting for us. A man of Brasilian origin with wild curly hairstyle, pretty much like Ivan, but in grey color... He smiled at us when we entered. A big and friendly smile, like a warm welcome and it felt like meeting an old friend! This man had a special energy and fascinated me from the beginning, one of the most interesting musicians I had ever met! He speaks seven languages perfectly, plays more than seven instruments, has lived and traveled all around the world and is constantly learning new things! Starting as classical guitare player, later becoming a jazz musician, he learned instruments and styles of music according to the place and continent he lived in! And a few years ago, he came to Europe, fell in love with Lisbon and Fado music and makes now his living playing fado and touring in whole Europe for concerts. And in between, he is doing doctorate in researches about Fado music! He told us that everytime that he plays concerts in a foreign country, he tries to dive in the culture a few weeks before, listening to TV, music of this place and even cooking meals of this specific place... We all know, that music is a profession that you can't separate from your life. It is a passion that won't end like an office job on evenings or week-ends. And Mucio showed that there is no boarder of music, learning and life, everything is connected and every moment of his life is filled with this passion and joy of life and music!

Before it came to music, we had a first drink together and explained our project of IMAGINE. He chose among a few guitares that he had brought, his "Guitara Portuguesa" which is typical for Fado music and started to improvise on John Lennon. Amazing! We didn't have to explain anything and could record immediately! In a separate room of the bar, we gave him earplugs with our recording and he played his improvisation with it. We could use the first take and the recording just took the time of the song. Easy and impressing! The sound of this instrument was fantastic and I'm sure that John Lennon himself would have loved it!

Now came the part of the video recording. Of course, Mucio knew the most Portuguese spots and best views in "his" Alfama and we climbed a few hundred steps to arrive at St. Estêvâo church with a magnificent view on the red roofs of Alfama, Bairro Alto and the ocean... When we just started the first bars of the recording, a sudden and heavy rain surprised us and we had just time to hide our video equipment, instruments - first of all Mucio's precious guitara portuguesa and slowly our carbon instruments that don't mind the rain...- and ourselves under the big olive tree next to the church! After a few minutes, the apocalyptical interruption with black and heavy clouds had disappeared and the innocent sunshine made its way to cover Alfama in a bright light again. It was just enough time to "chase" the curious spectators that we didn't want necessarily in our video... and we had the place all for ourselves to make beautiful recording of the Portuguese IMAGINE...

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