Sérgio Godinho

Several songs in my head this morning. They all have in common Sérgio Godinho‘s voice.

Sextos Sentidos is a Silence4 song and Sérgio Godinho was, I imagine, invited to join David Fonseca and Sofia Lisboa in singing it. A song in my high school O.S.T.

Fotos de Fogo is a song from the album Irmão do Meio, where Sérgio Godinho brought together several Portuguese musicians to sing his songs with him. In this specific one, he is singing with Camané and Carlos do Carmo, two fado singers.

I love this song mainly for my deep interest in my country’s not-so-distant History, as it tells us about an experience in the colonial war. It’s told in a way that could be anyone who was there telling the story to someone like me, the younger generation who knows nothing of it. It’s starts with “sit next to me, by the fireplace, I will tell you the true story”. It then goes on to describe it as if going through different pictures in a photo album: “In this other photo is morning; notice our smile; the night ended without being necessary to leave the dreams of other beds”.

I can really relate to this song, as I have, fortunately, been in that place (the one being told the story) many times. I say fortunately for my dad’s sake as I believe it has been helpful for him to share his memories with us.

I have discussed this particular topic many times in this blog but I’ll say it again. The let’s-not-speak-about-it attitude my country seems to have, both at an individual and social levels has been, in my view, an impediment to individual an national healing and recognition of what has happened, what we did, and what was done to so many young men.

My dad’s generation is completely traumatized over what they did and went through, and not discussing it is not only harming their individual recovery but is also allowing it all to fall into forgetfulness (not to mention misconstruction of History).

I also believe this lack of sharing experiences out in the open prevents my generation and subsequent ones from understanding our individual and collective lives, where we come from, what is happening to us in the present and why. We should be getting the different testimonials, the different perspectives. We should be informed. Otherwise we risk not knowing or understanding anything about our society, our families, why that uncle doesn’t talk to anyone, why the other is an alcoholic…

A cousin of mine once dared to open the trunk her dad kept locked (even though she had been forbidden to come close to it). She didn’t know what to make of it: the photos of burned bodies, the body parts hanging from trees, all the horrors of war propaganda…

Had her dad told her about his experience she wouldn’t have been left to guess, probably building a story in her head that does not match the reality. Because that is all we can do when we are left to guess… And it can go both ways: we can get it right or completely wrong. Whatever she saw deeply influenced how she feels about her father but also about an entire community: she has become more and more racist over the years. I do believe looking at one side of the story and not having all the possible facts influenced this aspect. She is not an isolated example…

Colonial War is still a tabu and songs like Sérgio’s break the silence. I welcome them. Because as the following song, also from Irmão do Meio, states “Everything is connected”


About Rita BA

I read, I write, I think, I dream, I write a bit more...
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