A New Review of Mar Portugues

 There is a new review of our CD Mar Portugues on Amazon!

Shawna Lenore & Darrell Kastin – MAR PORTUGUES: A Tribute to Florbela Espanca & Fernando Pessoa

Pianist and guitarist Darrell Kastin’s vision was to musically transcribe the beautiful poetry of Portugal’s Fernando Pessoa and Florbela Espanca. Kastin’s mother was born in the Azores, and he has spent considerable time in the country soaking up the culture. Married to a Portuguese woman, Kastin was clearly inspired by his love and passion for Portuguese music, poetry and culture. The country is well known for its rich, deep fado music (literal definition meaning “fate”). As with fado, Kastin’s melodies and arrangements provide great emphasis on stringed instrumental accompaniment. While the project was conceived in Oregon, Kastin travelled to Lisbon to record with top Portuguese musicians including Pedro Barroso (vocals on two tracks, adufe, percussion), Miguel Carreira (accordion), Luís Sá Pessoa (cello), Luis Petisca (Portuguese guitar), and the Vox Nobis Choir. Barroso also served as producer.

The project’s emotional radiance and success is largely carried by the hypnotic voice of Kastin’s daughter, Shawna Lenore Kastin. She demonstrates considerable emotional depth, range and control as she sings the ballads and songs with haunting beauty. Like fado music, she uses warm, conversational vocalizing to present graceful stories of life, destiny, dreams, love and desire. One example of the strong emotional impact of this poetry and music is found with “O Maior Bem” that makes mention of deceit, suffering, pain, sorrow, weariness, disdain, and torment. There is a long Portuguese tradition of poetry and literature, both academic and traditional. Also, balladry has been part of Portuguese tradition since long before the early 19th century. Thus, Darrell Kastin is able to keep one foot grounded in tradition while providing engrossing contemporary music that captures the soulful concerns, stories and declarations of undying love found in the poetry. Besides his love of this kind of music, he also says the album took alchemy and a little madness. Alchemy was needed to bring many elements successfully together, and he attributed the madness to his desire to musically journey uncharted waters. (Joe Ross)

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