Cuca Roseta: Meu

November 4, 2021

Passion’s Arena

Listening Post 325. Love is universal, the feeling that most connects people of every era—from cave dwellers to web surfers—which explains why love songs far outnumber all other kinds. And just like common folk looking for that magic spark, the challenge for artists who enter passion’s musical arena is being heard in the crowd. Cuca Roseta is a singer-songwriter of fado which, strictly speaking, is not about love per se but about saudade, that delicious, elusive Portuguese concept typically translated as “longing.” But on Meu (Mine), her seventh album, saudade is the thread that weaves together 12 songs about the euphoric-expectant-tormenting-exasperating-mysterious-blinding-empowering force that makes the world spin. Roseta’s sterling voice, backed by musicians of exceptional quality, lifts her above the throng of balladeers, leaving no doubt of her stature in the fado pantheon. In Preto e Branco (Black and White, video 1) she finds exquisite pain in the nearness of love, when full flowering is at best a possibility. At the spectrum’s other end is Amor de Domingo (A Sunday Love, video 2), in which moments together and apart infuse one another with meaning. The album’s minor key explores the arts of love, especially singing and dancing: Negrita describes a young woman “with an angel’s face, wing-like arms, a feast of curly hair” whose whirling leaves onlookers spellbound (video 3). Love can also be a pest, as Roseta shows in Chiça Penico (Holy Cow, video 4), a stream of wordplay embroidered to avoid cursing—or perhaps she doth protest too much. With all the romance out there, we still inhabit a cynical world, and this artist can deftly shape a message that risks entering cliché territory, as in Maria, a positive-thinking anthem that unfolds into a petite cantata of fate and faith (video 5). When it comes to love and fado, Cuca Roseta either finds the right links or composes them. (Anahata Musica)

Related posts. Cuca Roseta: Luz, Listening Post 152, May 29, 2018.
Cuca Roseta: Riû, Listening Post 21, November 17, 2015.

Cuca Roseta: Meu / Mine
Cuca Roseta: Vocals
Sandro Costa: Portuguese guitar
Tuniko Goulart: Classical guitar
Flávio Cardoso: Bass guitar
Marino de Freitas: Bass guitar
Ruben Alves: Piano, accordion
Ivo Costa: Drums, percussion
Luis Guerreiro: Portuguese guitar
Rui Caetano: Piano


Preto e Branco / Black and White
Lyrics & music: Cuca Roseta

(From the Portuguese lyrics)
We are/Like characters in a black and white movie
In which the smile never opens too broadly/The laughter muted
The plot semi-good/One of those little stories that doesn’t quite grab you

We are/Like the yearning of two lips that almost touch, but don’t
Like the silence of a dried up lake/A colorless rainbow
A sweet and sour love/Mere actors with no real life

Everything, everything/Is so beautiful like this
In this pain/Of not having you for myself
Everything, everything, everything…

We are/Like a picture of a side-by-side couple on a garden bench
They don’t touch but everything is painted just right/A distant Mona Lisa smile
A canvas labeled “Love”—in Braille/A painting without the color of having you

Everything, everything/Is so beautiful like that
In this pain/Of not having you for myself
Everything, everything, everything…/Everything, dies without and end


Amor de Domingo / Sunday Love
Lyrics & music: Cuca Roseta

I want a Sunday love/That will at times leave me alone
That will wait for me, in no rush to love/That will wait until there is room

I want a Sunday love/That moves slowly
That transpires at the fireside/On the tranquil idea
Of knowing the flavor, and peace, of hot village bread

I want a Sunday love/That goes back and forth to the nest
That comes and goes/And that goes and comes
On Sunday that tastes so good

I want a Sunday love/At the window of rain and of wine
Of hours full of nothing/The best nothing in life
It’s just you and me and the pillow

I want a Sunday love/In the silence that is not alone
Hair out of place/Makeup aside
Lying down, infinitely cozy…


Lyrics & music: Cuca Roseta

Negrita with an angel’s face
With white teeth/Wing-like arms
Skin of a saint/Feast of curly hair

How she dances/With such amazing beauty
A butterfly of hope/In the arc of your swing
And leaves the dust of her grace in the air
Arousing joy and courage/When she smiles at whoever passes

Negrita/Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Negrita/Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Negrita/Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh

Negrita, with the sultry face/And tortured waist
Of determined feet/And seasoned hands
Of welded shoulders/And wounded faith

How she dances/Hair in the wind, braid whipping the air
Deserted look of those who never tire
In the arc of your swing/Weaving poetry with her hands on her hips
Spinning all her hope in her skirt/With the sadness in her feet

Negrita/Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Negrita/Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Negrita/Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh


Chiça Penico / Holy Cow
Lyrics & music: Cuca Roseta

Would you look at this?/The boy won’t leave me alone!
Now look at this/He’s carrying a torch for me!
He’s not playing with a full deck/Got a screw loose
Then it hits me/Look how stubborn he is
Look how stubborn he is

Take a look at this/The boy has a good-luck figa!
Now look at this/Thinks he’s lord of the manor!
Okay, now I’m offended/I’m climbing the walls
I’m out of control/The song always goes like this!
The song always goes like this!

Hey holy cow/And a bowler hat
Writing paper/And boxing gloves
Starched collars/And a checkered belly
It’s gone too far/Then, if I don’t say what I feel!
Then, if I don’t say what I feel!/Then, if I don’t say what I feel!

Take a look at this/The boy is incorrigible!
And now this/He’s just headstrong!
But I mean really a bear/Going plain crazy
He was already hanging by a thread/Left high and dry!
Left high and dry!

Do you see this there?/I won’t say it’s nonsense!
Now do you want to see this?/I won’t lose my temper!
My father is well mannered/My mother virtuous
My grandfather is honorable/My grandmother a saint!
My grandmother a saint!


Lyrics & music: Cuca Roseta

Today is saying yes/You have a mission
Any task is easy/If you look at it with your heart

Be like the bird/That’s born and without thinking
With its little wings/Launches into flight

Be like Maria/Get up and go!
Be like Maria/Don’t waste your time, just go!!

Today is saying yes/Rise to your mission
Take wing and put an end/To the fear that tells you “no”

Trust the paths/That God prepared you for
Give life to the enthusiasm/That the world already provides!

Be like Maria/Get up and go!
Be like Maria/Don’t waste your time, just go!!

Today is saying yes/Respond without delay
Don’t waste time like that/If God is calling now

Armed with your faith/Proclaim the good news!
Whatever was is no longer/In the light that renews…

Be like Maria/Get up and go!
Be like Maria/Don’t waste your time, just go!!




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