Fado from the Lowlands of Friesland
Since Amalia Rodrigues the Fado music has always been known around the world. The last few years many new artists have great success and I think the Netherlands, the Fado music is one of the most popular kinds of traditional music. Singers like Cristina Branco, Mariza and Dulce Pontes often perform here in theatre and on television. Last summer a remarkable cd was issued by the young Dutch performer Nynke Laverman. She recorded Fado music in her own language, Friesian. This language which is spoken in the upper north of Holland in a region called Friesland, is an official language. The cd has received many good critics in the Netherlands and after hearing it I wondered why Nynke Laverman choose to mix Fado music with poems in her own language. As others I was surprised that the two cultures seem to mix really well. In this article a brief introduction to a Fado singer from the lowlands: Nynke Laverman.
Nynke was only fifteen years old when she heard a Fado song that touched her
deeply. It was in a cinema during the film Primal fear. In the soundtrack of
this movie Dulce Pontes sung some beautiful Fado songs. Shortly after she had
seen the film, she started buying cd's by Pontes and learned more about the Fado
music. Besides Pontes she got acquainted with other singers like the legendary
Amalia Rodrigues and the now a days famous singer Mariza. For years she only
listened to the music and never thought about singing it herself. Nynke: 'I had
the strong feeling that, to be able to sing Fado you should at least be born and
raised in Lisbon. But than, the music touched me so much that I just couldn't
get the songs out of my head. Fado is music in which you can hear that it comes
from a pure tradition. Directly out of the heart, all your desires all your pain
and love etc. They just scream it out in melancholy. It touches me over and over
When the in Holland tremendously popular Portuguese singer Cristina Branco recorded her cd Cristina Branco canta Slauerhoff , Nynke decided she wanted to translate the lyrics of Slauerhoff to her own native Friesian language and to sing them on Fado melodies. The first time she sung a Fado on stage was in the show Angela vicario which she performed together with other young theatre makers shortly after she graduated. The reactions to the song were very positive and she decided to start the Sielesâlt project.
She choose to sing the songs in her own native language because she believes that one's own language is the best to show emotion in. Nynke: 'In the Friesian language I understand the meaning of every word and emotional the language is closest to me. Somehow the combination of Fado and the language worked for me. Friesian is a very poetic language but it also has some raw ends and it's a beautiful language to sing. The funny thing is that the Friesian music culture on it's own never really got me. I love the language, the literature and the poems but the music….no It doesn't have the melancholy, the emotions of the Fado. I think the feeling of the music is universal. I could understand that people in Friesland liked the music because they can understand the beautiful lyrics. But when I did a concert in Amsterdam people didn't understand a word I was singing but they were as touched as in the people in Friesland. Somehow I believe that the Dutch are as passionate as the Portuguese people only the Dutch hide it somewhere deep inside them. The most exciting concert for me was in Lisbon. There I performed a week long in a Fado cafe and sung both in the Portuguese and Friesian language. I was very nervous because I know the purist can react very strongly and critical. But even there people liked it and than I realised that it isn't the language, it aren't the lyrics that are most important. It's the capability to bring the emotion of the Fado into your music that really counts.'
Nynke is now doing a theatre tour and she already has plans for a new Fado
project. This time it will be poems by the Friesian poet Albertina Soepboer put
to music by Fado composers she met in Lisbon. More info you can find at: http://www.nynkelaverman.nl/. Make sure
you check this webpage as Sielesâlt is seen as one of the best cd's of 2004 by
many critics in the Netherlands.
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