Cristina Clara: Lua Adversa

March 24, 2022

Handle Music With Care

Listening Post 340. The classic music genres emerged in seaside melting pots during the nineteenth century: In Lisbon it was fado, imbued with longing but often the kind that hurts so good; in Rio de Janeiro it was choro, commonly exuding joy even though its very name means “cry.” Affinities aside, fado and choro (also called chorinho) are infrequently paired—and rarely so deliciously as on Cristina Clara’s debut album. With Lua Adversa (Contrary Moon), the artist ambles through 12 songs as if club hopping in Ipanema or the Alfama, mixing instruments, compositions and lyrics crafted by combinations of Brazilian and Portuguese hands and visions. Through the artful coupling she chants a poetry of the senses: Fragrance of coral, taste of melon, a kiss’s touch, the sound of saudade and a bird’s eye view of humanity. It’s all a reflection of Cristina Clara’s own arc: Raised in northern Portugal, she studied nursing in Porto, then worked in a Lisbon hospital for 15 years during daylight as she spent nights ascending the music ladder and meeting artists from every corner of the Lusophone world. Choro was initially an all-instrumental style, but nothing holds back Cristina’s vocal vivacity: For Flor Amorosa (Loving Flower, video 1), composed in 1867, she sings the lyrics that were penned years later. The album’s interwoven heart beats with Real e Abstrato (Real and Abstract, video 2), opening with fado notes and easing into a choro dance rhythm. Manjericos (Basil, video 3) clings to the Alfama but invokes the Brazilian ocean goddess Yemanjá alongside Lisbon’s patron São João. In Lua (Moon, video 4), Cristina sings her own poetry of night and day; and she leaves urban pathways behind in the piano ballad Sete Cantigas Para Voar (Seven Songs for Flying, video 5). Perhaps the ultimate fusion of Lua Adversa is pairing an artist’s bold innovation with a nurse’s tender care. (Sony Portugal)

Cristina Clara: Lua Adversa / Contrary Moon*
Cristina Clara: Vocals
Pedro Loch: Classical guitar
Edu Miranda: Mandolin, cavaquinho
Bernardo Couto: Portuguese guitar
Pedro de Castro: Portuguese guitar
Sandro Costa: Portuguese guitar
João Filipe: Fado guitar
Carlos Barretto: Double bass
Barbara Piperno: Flute
Rafael Calegari: Electric bass
Francisco Gaspar: Acoustic bass
Quiné Teles: Percussion
Sami Tarik: Percussion
João Ventura: Piano

*Album title inspired by the poem Lua Adversa, by the Brazilian writer Cecília Meireles (1901-64).


Flor Amorosa / Loving Flower
Lyrics: Catullo da Paixão Cearense/Music: Joaquim Callado

(From the Portuguese lyrics)
Loving, compassionate, sensitive flower come, because…/It’s a proud rose, smug, so vain
Well, look, the rose is happy to be kissed, it’s a flower, it’s a flower/Oh, I gave you a kiss, but forgive me, it was nothing, my love

In a cup with a fragrance of coral/A kiss to give, I see no harm
It’s a sign that I’ve fallen in love with you/Maybe in dreams I kissed you

If you want to remove yourself from my lips/A kiss from you, take it for God’s sake!
See if you can get the fragrance from me/My mouth bleeds, it’s a favor, come here

You shouldn’t question any longer/I already asked, if you want more, take my heart
Ah, feel pity for my woes, sorry/Yes or no, yes or no

Look I’m on bended knee/To kiss you, to kiss your feet
Under your/under your eyes so cruel

If you don’t want to forgive me/I’ll give no kiss to anyone else

If yesterday you kissed a jasmine from your garden/For my sake, for my sake me
Oh why do you swear a thousand tortures/A thousand hardships, why do you swear?
My heart takes no offense for kissing you, it doesn’t see, doesn’t see
For a kiss, a joke, so much shame/But why?


Real e Abstrato / Real and Abstract
Lyrics & music: Tatiana Cobbett / Poetic quote: Manuel Alegre

I’ll leave in the hull of a boat/The mark of my hip
I threw pebbles into the lake/I am an apprentice of the world

I measured, a square meter/Hold on so you don’t fall!
Not doing right is wrong/Living is real and abstract.

I’ll leave my hull/Living is real and abstract
And I’m taking the boat…/Living is real and abstract.

My love is a sailor/And lives on the high seas
His arms are like the wind/No one can tie them down


Manjericos / Basil
Lyrics & music: Tatiana Cobbett / Poetic quote: António Carlos Belchior

The scent of basil/Spread through the city
In my unprotected heart/Echoes of old nostalgia

It was walking in Alfama/That we acted on the desire
Of the matchmaker saint/And I was really yours

Little melon chapel/Pink carnation
I’ll pray to São João/To bring you back

And at the feast of Yemanjá/On the second of February
Seeing you then leave/Aboard a sloop

The sails of Mucuripe are heading out to fish/I’ll throw my sorrows into the sea’s deep waters
Tonight to flirt, without fear of longing/And no desire to marry

Life, wind, sail
That star is hers
Life, wind, sail, take me away


Lua / Moon
Lyrics: Cristina Clara/Music: Pedro Loch

I wanted to live inside the moon/Walk through it hidden
Shine on your street…
My life was full!/My life was new!
I didn’t even think about being yours/I was growing to be alone.

I am from the stars that come/Teach me the calendar
Of arbitrary fate/From the whims of your use
From the tides that never tire/From the hours of your time zone

Set a date with no one/Sitting on the half moon
Everything I had of my own/Was the dream of being yours
And now that day has come/The moon has disappeared
And now that day has come/The dream has disappeared…


Sete Cantigas Para Voar/ Seven Songs for Flying
Lyrics & music: Vital Farias

A song of the countryside/Of rapt attention
You really feel it/With precision
But I remember your image/On that trip
What I did for the wilderness/I was born in the forest
I sing and party/In your heart
Fly, fly, bluebird…

A song of the farm/Of a blind man in love
A song of a girl/Sitting there on the fence
The fauna and flora sing/And no one is unaware
If she wants to stand out/Put a flower in your hair
With joy and zeal/So she won’t wither
Fly, fly in the air…

A lullaby/The child in the hammock
A lie about water/It’s to quench your thirst
Tell mom I went to the reservoir/I went to catch a fish
But that’s not really why I went/I was with my boyfriend
We went to a party/Joy in my heart
Fly, fly, bluebird…

Song of an Indian/Who lost his hut
In the heart this fire/Heaven doesn’t extinguish
Leave the Indian in his corner/And I’ll sing a lullaby
I’ll sing another song/Leave the fish, leave the river
The river that’s a thread of inspiration
Fly, fly, bluebird…



  1. Alvaro

    Muito bom. As músicas e os músicos.

    • atigay

      Obrigado Alvaro!


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