Canto IV

So, all of a sudden, I was participating in a musical project, under the auspices of Luís de Camões' "Canto IV". The musicians have an odd name, "Beduínos a Gasóleo", and ride through the verses skillfully, as though the desert dunes they are so familiar with were the waves of the Ocean the poet carries us out to throughout his book. It was immediately made clear, from the voice of José Carlos Fialho, the craft's helmsman, that the Camões' work was not to be handled gingerly as a staid matter of State. This was equally clear to me as I listened to the music as it was sketched out: this was clearly progressive rock evoking ambiances and events in our past. I was overjoyed to learn that Janita Salomé would be contributing his great expertise to help build the musical ambiances that were to embody the project.

As for my writing... Well... It could never have been done on top of the poems we learned in high school classrooms. It was born, in a parallel discourse, as if it were another musical instrument composing the images we now propose to you.

I was touched when I first heard the moment when the Prince sits on the beach looking out to sea, and laughed at the take on the Treaty of Tordesillas. Other parts were worked out in the rehearsal hall, where I sat in borrowed Bedouin garb, or so it felt, correcting the scansion and proposing solutions: working the writing along with the music. An example of that creative state: "Sonho de D. Manuel" (The Dream of D. Manuel). Those were fine weeks!

I was told by a friend, a school librarian, that our work has a pedagogic value that ought to be explored. I think on her words and hear other, bygone words echo within me, from back in high school at Liceu Camões, when Eduarda Dionísio said: "Hear the pounding of alliteration in the poem, how it fully renders the battle..."

Godspeed, Bedouins!

Miguel Horta, September 2007