Cristina Branco: Eva

My BFF And/Is Me

Listening Post 266. From David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust to Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce, from Philip Roth’s Zuckerman to Marcel Duchamp’s Rrose Sélavy, the alter ego has an honored place in creative art. But the Portuguese singer Cristina Branco molded something different in the title character of her latest album: Eva was born not as an artistic device but as a stroke of self-actualization. In 2006, wandering through a museum outside Copenhagen, Branco visualized a confident bestie to help her make decisions and deal with her demons; friends knew that Eva Haussman, the Danish photographer with her own social media presence, was an avatar of Cristina, but only in 2020 would this BFF emerge in music. The album is actually a joint venture as Eva-Cristina explores the power of recognizing her weaknesses and the realization that she can live well without understanding everything. Throughout her career, now astride 16 albums, Branco has been rooted in fado but has allowed her sterling voice to enter alternative realms. Here she floats through fado-jazz and fado-chanson on a sound cloud of piano, Portuguese guitar and bass and under soft sheets of music by a supreme roster of songwriters to whom she sent a “diary” of Eva’s life for inspiration. With Delicadeza (Delicacy, video 1), she moves the personality needle from “fragile” to “never having to explain myself;” and in Mau Feitio (Bad Temper, video 2) distinguishes a testy mood from bad karma. Prova de Esforço (Stress Test, video 3) posits running as a metaphor for both escape and therapy. Imperfections appear as virtues in Quando Eu Quiser (Whenever I Want, video 4), with wrinkled letter paper a sign of happiness; and in Contas de Multiplicar (The Stories Pile Up, video 5), in which tattered notebooks represent precious time. Time, too, becomes art as Branco transforms her longtime alter ego from private prose into public poetry. (Arruada)

Cristina Branco: Eva
Cristina Branco: Vocals
Bernardo Couto: Portuguese guitar
Bernardo Moreira: Double bass
Luís Figueiredo: Piano

Related posts. Eva forms a virtual trilogy of intimate portraits with the artist’s two previous albums. See:
Cristina Branco: Menina, Listening Post 94, April 9, 2017
https://worldlisteningpost.com/2017/04/09/cristina-branco-menina/
Cristina Branco: Branco, Listening Post 209, July 10, 2019
https://worldlisteningpost.com/2019/07/10/cristina-branco-branco/

 

Delicadeza / Delicacy
Lyrics & music: Francisca Cortesão

(From the Portugues lyrics)
If I’m elegant and I have everything in place/If I’ve lost grace by getting annoyed
If I behave myself/If I go astray
I have to tell myself

I no longer shake in fear of failing/I play with fire until I get burned
I have no husband/I haven’t slept
I’ll save myself

I’m not made of steel
I don’t have a weak constitution

I want to feel at home, always/Never question myself
And never again/Have to explain myself
For being delicate

I want to enjoy everything in my own way/Satisfy my own hunger
And never again/Have someone tell me what to think
Because I’m delicate

At what age will I no longer want to know/How I got to where I am?
With no idea of what’s coming/Looking in the mirror before I leave
And saying, “Not bad”?

I’m not made of steel
I don’t have a weak constitution

I always want to feel at home/Never question myself
And never again/Have to explain myself
With delicacy

I want to enjoy everything in my own way/Satisfy my own hunger
And never again/Have someone tell me what to think
With delicacy

 

Mau Feitio / Bad Temper
Lyrics & music: Filipe Sambado

You were the type/Who surrenders to her own martyrdom
Certain in her delusion/So broken by the past

A circle without end
It’s clear your frame of mind/Has made the path crooked
And when the full moon is out/Soon the word is on the street
The madness is planted

It’s the tantrum that blinds/The evil tongue you catch
It’s just potholes on the road

It is not a fault, it’s temper/Of someone who hasn’t slept
Not a defect, just a bad mood
It is not a fault, it’s temper/Of someone who hasn’t slept
Not a defect, just a bad mood

It must be telepathy/Manipulation and astrology
Any shoe that fits
A dose of pressure and euphoria/Enough to make you crazy
And the day ends early

And when the full moon is out/Soon the word is on the street
There are always those who knock you down
Blame it on lunaphobia/I don’t know if it’s stubbornness
You never know about someone else

It is not a fault, it’s temper/Of someone who hasn’t slept
Not a defect, just a bad mood
It is not a fault, it’s temper/Of someone who hasn’t slept
Not a defect, just a bad mood

 

Prova de Esforço / Stress Test
Lyrics: Pedro da Silva Martins/Music: Pedro Da Silva Martins, Luís José Martins
(The video for Prova de Esforço was shot at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebaek, Denmark, where Cristina Branco first imagined “Eva” in 2006)

Listen here my friend/Who makes you feel something more than the ground?
I want to go/I want to run with you

Leave it all here/To bang against the walls
They won’t turn into cotton/Trust me
I want to run with you

Ay!
I, too/Need to take life for a spin
I’ve done so much running alone/I’m in in a state of go/no go

Life is a stress test

Look over there/At sea, love adrift
In the shadow of a shark/I want to go
I want to run with you

Come on/The wave is flattening
Says the shell to the mussel
There/I want to run with you

Ay!
I also need/To take life for a spin
I’ve done so much running alone/I’m in in a state of go/no go

Life is a stress test

 

Quando Eu Quiser / When I Want To
Lyrics & music: Churky

I think sometimes/I don’t know who I am
But I don’t take the time to understand
I think sometimes/I don’t know where I’m going
But I go, just the same, without knowing

Because I
I got lost in life/But it was because I wanted to
I’m a wrinkled letter/But a happy letter
One I still need to write/Whenever I want

I think sometimes/I don’t know who you are
But I don’t even waste time brooding about it
I think sometimes/I’ll go from one end to the other
I’ll go anyway, without thinking

Because I
I got lost in life/But it was because I wanted to
I’m a wrinkled letter/But a happy letter
One I still need to write

Did someone stash the pain in a corner?/I sing just to see love pass by
And if by chance it stops/I’ll be here

I think sometimes/I don’t know who I am
In a time in which I’m already lost
I think sometimes/I already know where I’m going
And I know my love… is me

 

Contas de Multiplicar / The Stories Pile Up
Lyrics: Cristina Branco/Music: Bernardo Couto

From beginning to end/Tap the map at random
A trail, a trace/(Quick)

In tattered notebooks/Night turned to day
Neither one of us/Knew how

Departure delayed
The stories pile up

Put your hands on me/Draw a map at random
A trail, a trace/(Quick)

Ivory teeth/Delicate porcelain
Don’t lose me/Don’t lose us

Departure delayed
The stories pile up

In tattered notebooks/Night turned to day
Neither one of us/Knew how

Departure delayed/The stories pile up

 

 


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