Cuca Roseta: Luz

Natural Light

Listening Post 152. Rather than linger over beautiful sunsets, our ancestors ran home at dusk, so fraught with danger and superstition was the night. Advanced societies tend to take light for granted. On her fourth album, Cuca Roseta shows a preindustrial appreciation for light’s physical and spiritual dimensions—illumination and inspiration—and treats fado, Portugal’s signature music form, as a natural source of joy and introspection. Roseta is a singer and songwriter of world fado, rather than the strictly traditional form; on Luz, despite the near-constant Portuguese guitar, she also embraces Brazilian, flamenco, folk and pop sounds. This is her most personal album to date, 17 tracks of new works (she wrote lyrics for five and music for two), songs by guest composers and a few traditional favorites that never fit on her earlier albums. The new collection roams from the simple to the baroque, with the unifying filament of light alternately shining and dimming. Balelas (Idle Chatter) adds lightness to luminescence, with dexterous wordplay that could echo a conversation from yesterday or from a candle-lit soirée long ago (video 1). Luzinha (Little Light) links sunrise to the gleam of a smile (video 2); while Foge (Flee) contrasts the dazzling energy of pursuit with the muted excitement of love won too easily (video 3). Quero (I Want) is a 70-word declaration of passion, while Saudade e Eu (Missing You, Missing Me) expresses a longing that no daybreak can resolve. Other album anchors are the fado classic Luz Materna (Mother Light), the piano ballad Luz do Mundo (Light of the World) and Versos Contados (Recited Verses), with the defining message, “Fado knows the feeling/Fado feels the wisdom.” In the age of 24/7 glare, we risk losing the shadows that enhance radiance. Roseta’s crystal clear voice and her light sensitivity not only entertain, they also help restore our sense of nature’s balance. (Sony Music Entertainment Portugal/Sociedade Unipessoal Lda.)

Note: For a review of Cuca Roseta’s previous album, Riû, see Listening Post 21, Nov 17, 2016.
https://worldlisteningpost.com/2015/11/17/cuca-roseta-riu/

 

Balelas/Idle Chatter: “I’m cooked and I don’t care if/This big mouth thinks he’s sheriff
Oozing airs of miscreant/Acting oh-so-innocent

Talking over here/Talking over there
Greasing idle chatter/The meaning doesn’t matter

Turn the record over/Still it sounds the same
No risk in the rhyme/Just in losing time

Take your horse/Out of the rain/And you can bet
He who plays with fire/May not burn, but will get wet”

 

Luzinha/Little Light: “There is a little light/That shines in your smile
A light that illuminates/All that is darkened.

I walked in the twilight/I stumbled at each pace
It was a dark night/But I saw color in your embrace

In every sadness/And in each solitude
There always appears/A light in the darkness”

 

Foge/Flee: “Run, leave me behind
Cross the street and pretend/That you have nothing to do with me
Run, look what running away makes me do
How it affects me/Makes me follow you

The harder it is/The more you get caught up in love
My feminine side/Makes me struggle
Those who fall at my feet/Are easy to refuse

I put on the make-up
I see the character/In black-and-white films
The plot in which the woman/Who pretends not to want someone
Is really lost in love

Only temptation tempts me
Wanting to rest my hand/On someone trying escape me/Wanting to have what I do not have
Redoubles my commitment/To having it”


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