Monday, 23 August 2010

So Why Does Someone Born McGowan and Married to a Soderstrom Write a Book about the Portuguese?

That's a question that arises as I finish up Making Waves: The Continuing Portuguese Adventure. Simon Dardick, Véhicule's head honcho, sent me back revisions on Friday and I've been working hard ever since, trying to respond to the suggestions and clear up questions.

But I may have part of the answer in the suggetion for a "friend" thrown up a couple of weeks ago by Face Book. Perhaps because I've been following several musicians, a couple of weeks ago, I got a notice about the Bagpipes of Portugal group. What a delight!

I always knew that Portugal had a strong Celtic influence early on, particularly in the north, but I didn't know it also has a tradition of bagpipes. Here's an appearance by a group which combines piping with drumming that seems to come from another big influence on Portuuese culture: Africa. Sorry, but I can't tell you what the words are except to say that there's mention of "O pai" or "Father"...or so I think.

Update: I found the lyrics, which contain a lot of colloquialisms. The nearest I can figure is that it's a courting song about the singer's father and mother: the refrain is something like "let's get hitched" or maybe something a little naughtier. Goes with the pounding beat, for sure.


Anonymous said...

I'm going to run out and buy your book. My Portuguese grandfather arrived in Toronto 95 years ago. When I was growing up I thought my name was French, at least to a child's ear I knew it wasn't English

Interesting music, I'm not a fan of the bagpipes.


Mary Soderstrom said...

The book is supposed to be out by the end of September. Send me your email address at and I'll send you an invitation to the launch.